Archive for the ‘Home Sewing Front’ Category

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43.8 More Ruler Work Observations from Beginner – MAL 2019

March 9, 2019

I am staying as true as possible to the quilt for 15 minutes challenge for the month of March – aka March A Long. The only date that might have been missed was Friday. Even on Thursday when I was feeling a little under the weather, I looked through some designs in books that have been sitting on the shelf for years.

I have been staying on my free motion / ruler work for quilting working on my practice project.

Last week I did some cross hatching, this week, I tried out the football curved ruler.

A little bit of practice every day. One day was the outline of two footballs offset on the same row, the next day was the pebbles.

I filled in the corners with this weird gap thing set aside for something and the swirls that I almost see as my default traveling pattern.

I have found that instead of a generic meander, I tend to go with swirls as a “I don’t know what filler to go next with” filler to get from place to place and to speed up.

As you may notice I have a strange red thread design in the center of these white patches.

I did this with the marking pen around the ruler for the center of the design. This was to practice using my marking pen. I am not known to do a ton of marking or registration marks on my quilting. The pen took a while to get used to being used again, but seemed to do decent with the initial design.

This was before tackling any of the “rulers on the machine” work. Then I echoed it. Three times. Uhhh… two echoes, three lines.

Anyway, I am mostly happy with the work I did on the first pass, but my echoing skills leave a lot to be desired.

I am wondering what about this is hard for me to do correctly. Is it that I go too fast, or I can’t see well enough or I just “lose where I am” a little, or am a little careless, or I try to “make up for previous passes” by making a change the next echo and then actually make it worse.

Granted, this would be better if the thread color actually matched the background.

This is a small issue I have to work out on my own. This quilt has both light and dark patches, and for some reason, I have decided to make it all symmetrical. Same shapes in each corner, same threads. Sometimes it means that the thread color contrasts, the other times it blends. More or less.

I am finding myself feeling moments of “rush” with this quilt. It is practice, I did not piece it. I do not see it hanging in my house, or given to someone else. I don’t know if it would be “good enough” to donate to the local hospital or not (for a lap quilt), I am mostly going through the motions on this quilt to really use as practice.

So I am periodically “speeding up” through some of the quilting.

When I first started, I was having lots of shredding thread issues. Because of that, I lowered the tension “way down”. So what did that cause? Eyelashes.

I went through the entire corner blue section with this rushed, low tension top which caused the back to eyelash incredibly badly throughout.

I am finding it hard to make myself stop and figure out what I am doing wrong, just getting through the section of practice without doing as much learning as I “could be.”

Since I was needing more practice echoing, I decided to use the curved rulers to help me out on echoing this.

And then finding a fill that works too. This worked well. I am amazed at how much I get confused or frustrated when turning the quilt around to the the other side of the design. Somehow now doing the same shape, in the same way, on the same kind of quilting background, I feel more frustrated on the 2nd half than the first half. Almost every time.

I am finding myself hitting the ruler on the machine, or getting it stuck behind where the foot gets in the way.

At least I figured out that the more I can do on the machine in one direction, the better off I seem to be. The first few circles/loops, I was turning all the way around instead of working “just the tops,” or “just the bottoms”.

I think if this machine was a higher shank machine with more throat space, this task would seem way easier at the moment.

Which I have to use what I have at the moment. I need to start a fund for getting either a Juki or something bigger like a sit down 16 HQ. But that, being down the road a bit, will have to wait. It’s hard to say, because I do really like piecing a LOT, and designing a LOT, and for those activities I only need the machine I have now.

I hate to come away from this post feeling negative about the whole experience. I am not feeling that way necessarily.

This is fun, I might need to figure out how to move on to my real projects pretty soon though. Keep my tension in check. Watch for my foot slipping off the screw and falling down – something that happened this morning and caused issues trying to get through some of the tough seams on the underside in particular.

This is really nice, and I am glad I am working on this, and I know in a few short weeks I will be piecing again.

This is my stopping point at the moment. I need to get on and do a few other things this weekend. I have a plan for the other four corners in this section, and I have three of them to do still. I really hope this practice quilt doesn’t take the entire month of March to quilt, but as long as I March-A-Long and keep at it, I will eventually be done! And I will have a nice reference too!

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43.7 First Weekend of MAL 2019 Free Motion Ruler Work – Beginner’s Perspective and Setup

March 3, 2019

I love March for many reasons, none of which is the snow that fell last night. March provides a good jump to get me in the blogging mood, in addition to the quilting mood.

For the uninitiated or new who lost/missed my last two posts, today, March 3rd, is the third day of March-A-Long. A monthly sewing celebration of working on quilting for 15 minutes a day during the month of March to see how much we can get done with a tiny bit of discipline.

Some years, I focus on a specific project, some years I just work to further along all my projects.

This year, I have decided to focus on Free Motion Quilting, and finally learn some quilting ruler work.

To start, last week was basting a bunch of small quilts with the goal of getting the stained glass quilt quilted by the end of the month.

Then I purchased from Amazon a roll of Oven Liner.

Wait?! What? What does that have to do with quilting or ruler work?

A comment from a FB group by someone I don’t know said the word Oven Liner, and since I didn’t already own a supreme slier, seemed to be a cheap way to experiment to see if I would like to try smoothing down my surface for free motion quilting. I could cut it to length I needed, I could make cutouts on it.

So the roll of oven liner is now on top of my sew-ezi table and “heirloom (aka inherited)” table next to it.

I cut a 2nd piece of the oven liner to serve as a “bridge piece” behind my sew ezi table. Behind, I have a machine in a cabinet (Aquata) that hasn’t seen the light of day since I got my magnolia machine. MMMMMM

I set my tv on top of the aquata cabinet, and it sits (higher, sadly) behind my table. And then proceed to watch Craftsy/Bluprint videos from the tv while quilting.

The oven liner is really helping to bridge my quilts up to the higher level without fuss or problem. I do think I am putting a tiny kink in the oven liner. Oh well.

I cut a small hole for the needle and used the oven liner all day. Used blue painter’s tape to keep it secured to each surface needed.

This DOES HELP the quilt slide fairly well! I was impressed with how well it worked! Cost me half as much as a supreme slider, was versatile and helpful.

What I did not realize that to change the bobbin, I was making things worse.

No one has ever accidentally sewed up their supreme slider to the back of their quilt and then ripped out the stitches, have they?

I would lift up the right side of my tape to get all up underneath to change the bobbin.

I started having bobbin tension issues. First, I had different thread in top and bottom. Then I kept having the issue where the bobbin thread wraps around the wrong way (though I thought I did it the right way every time). Lots of different times. Changed tensions, tension on the top seemed super tight even just threading and re-threading the machine.

Tension on the top is now down super low, which seems to be “on par” for this machine specifically.

Cleaned up inside the machine as much as I was able to dare without hurting the machine or doing anything too rash like taking it apart.

I realized I really need to get this professionally cleaned. Ugg. Not this month.

The cleaning and tension and changing the bobbin threads seemed to help.

I have been watching Free Motion quilting videos (already said that). By virtue of the idea that I could lower my feed dogs, which I only discovered in January of this year because I was supposed to have a workshop that got cancelled due to weather, I was able to get the ruler foot on the machine – correctly and without hassle – and place the ruler in front, or to the side of my foot.

My ruler foot is one of those aftermarket ones instead of one of the Janome ones. Some time ago, I bought a ruler foot, had problems with the ruler hitting the back when trying to use the ruler, had a poor ruler with very low markings on it, and frustrated with the entire idea of ruler work and put the whole thing away for a year or so.

I am realizing now that this low shank machine is why I was frustrated. And my aftermarket foot is why. And my feed dogs.

I had always gone by Leah Day’s idea that “it’s ok to keep your feed dogs up” and just worked around that idea in the past. I couldn’t predict the height of the feed dogs with the non-hopping ruler foot, I was used to my hopping free motion foot.

In the past, I really didn’t spend a ton of time working on this problem.

Watching the videos now, I realize that a common problem of these aftermarket feet is the space between the foot and the “foot holder post thing”.

Angela Walters said that you try to use rulers on the front or left for some machines, and Amy Johnson said some rulers have different thicknesses and that the low shanks like what I have is just going to give problems getting the ruler to go around back.

Here are my (now growing) list of rulers for quilting.

The ruler on the farthest left is probably an ok ruler, but it has only one marking vertically, and one marking horizontally. I do believe this ruler, I was trying to use in a way that wasn’t going to be successful (in the past), and even after I had done some practice, at the end of the day yesterday, I was still trying to use the ruler just to see, and getting frustrated. So I think this ruler is not for me.

Next to it, is an “s curve” ruler, also with minimal markings.

And the spiral, which is either going to be really long from now when I figure out how to use, or just going to be available as a “marking-type” ruler instead of a “quilting-up-next-to-the-foot” ruler

I also put onto the backs of these rulers just this morning were these dots.

You might be able to see on the s type ruler two purple blotches. This is a cheap version of “invisigrip” in the form of purple colored Hugo’s Amazing Tape, which I got for board games and use to keep my board game cards together in a group. Not really feeling the groove of this ruler either, maybe it is the gripping, maybe the size, maybe the lack of markings, maybe it is something else.

When I did put the Tight Grips product onto the backs of my other rulers, I could tell a distinct difference, these rulers stay put. Or seem to.

Anyway, the other thing I worked on this morning was fixing the main problem of loading my bobbin from the top underneath the oven liner. I cut out, again with exacto-knife, the area around the bobbin area. Because I happened to look up when Amy was showing off her supreme slider and by golly there was a hole in hers around the bobbin area.

I hit my head with a “do-ooohhh-innng” kind of realization that I could do that too.

Only took an entire day of stitching and messing with and being slightly upset about having to change the bobbin.

I keep thinking I am going to actually stitch this morning/afternoon, but I might not. I have been working on this blog post, fixing my area around my machine, fixing my oven liner solution, moving some of the furniture in the back around slightly differently, going out to scoop the snow for tomorrow.

I have found it easier to get started quilting when I have a plan, and right now the parts I have on this practice quilt, I don’t have a plan for. Yet.

Anyway, that was the very tinsey itsy bit of my March-A-Long. Join in, tag #marchalong or #sqmarchalong or something similar, reply here or FB. Let me know you’re up and doing this! We can all get more quilting done together if we work at it, little by little.

I didn’t get to show off my crosshatching, which was done with the curved westalee ruler I got with my foot. The half feathers at the top of this picture was done some time ago.

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43.6 Let’s Get Ready for March A Long 2019

February 26, 2019

Hey! End of the week this week leads us smack dab into March!

I decided to make a video to commemorate the beginning of March, because that is the month I try to “rally the troops” (ants) into sewing every day for 15 minutes a day!

So, we try to encourage each other to do a very mild discipline in our quilting! Just 15 minutes a day! It is usually one of the more productive or creative times of the year for me, it can, at times be hard to get me out of the sewing room in March!

Anyway, whatever it means to you to work on quilting, be it planning, cleaning, organizing, cutting, pinning, quilting, stitching, ripping, applique, embroidery, binding, retreating, blog-hopping, buying, auditioning, dreaming, designing, writing quilt patterns, doodling quilting designs, playing with color combos, swapping, meeting other quilters, quilt meetings, round-robbining, rug-mugging, bag making, DVD watching, craftsy watching, ….

You get the idea.

Here are my inspiration to start on March A Long for free motion quilting.

This top and backing need basted, marked and quilted

In searching for batting, I found two black batting pieces I could make into a larger batting piece to get this quilt free motioned, and so I made an appropriate back for it (on top).

And I watched classes on Ruler quilting and free motion quilting to get me ready with this stack of mostly practice sandwiches first. My free motion quilting ruler collection is small, and several are not quite as recommended because the lack of lines and markings.

Currently I might try the applique sheet on the gap between my sew ezi table and my grandma’s old living room table. I have yet to buy a supreme slider.  But I read online that you could use an oven liner too instead, and am considering that.

Just by stitching down the stained glass bias tape on this quilt was enough to remind me that the corner I have behind my sew ezi table is a little wonky. But it got me into the free motion mood.

I did also buy a dog grooming station, to hold all the bulk but I haven’t set it up yet. I want to see how easy it is to quilt the black Star Struck quilt first. And possibly move around furniture behind the sewing machine to run it into the wall?

These are currently my goals and plans for sewing this coming month. What are yours? Going to want to play along with us?

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43.5 Ten Year Quilt-a-versary – First Quilting Moments Revisited

February 24, 2019

In 2008, I drove around with a second hand book in the back of my car that said “Your First Quilt Book”. The book sat in my car for the majority of that year. Finally in February of 2009 I used enough “good work credits” (sorta) at work to decide to afford to get my very first sewing machine. I had never used one outside of school, but had fond middle school memories of sewing activities.

I called my first machine Molly.

I picked a design out of the book to work on, went to Walmart, bought fabric and started to get some other supplies for this project, and in a short month stitched up the center of the top.

Here I was laying out the fabric for my first quilt block before sewing. (taken Feb 22, 2009)

These are the blocks laying side by side. March 4, 2009.

Here it is with simple borders (taken March 8, 2009).

At the time I was really focused on getting the top done, but this was spurring me on to more and more down the quilt rabbit hole. Seeing so many pictures of other people’s quilts online, starting to listen to quilting podcasts, hearing people talk about quilts and techniques.

So I attempted to quilt this cute little top in the summer of 2009 (July 2009) to be able to work on the projects I had already started.

Learning about binding from a small group I started to sew with (that doesn’t exactly meet anymore in the way it used to, but am still friends with several online) caused me the courage to actually do the binding on this quilt for the first time.

And then I got to hang it in my tiny living room for quite a while.

During this time about 10 years ago, I was trying to get myself out of a funk, learn something new and exciting and beautiful. Starting to look at patterns, get a hold of a sewing machine and supplies, get stuff in order to decide to actually take the quilting plunge.

At that time, I had no actual knowledge of people in my family being “avid quilters”. Yes, my aunt was crafty, but crafty in lots of ways that also included sewing. Yes, I have fuzzy memories of my other grandma owning mysterious “sewing machine” in her bedroom.

I do remember as a child checking out a crafting book, learning how to sew, and then doing some running stitch hand-sewn pillows. My sister got a sparkly pillow with the “best looking fabric” that left glitter on her face, which was a childhood mystery until we figured out that sparkly fabric wasn’t best suited for sleeping and pillows. Then the middle school class which we sewed things, and even an activity of machine quilting (we did a log cabin block in pinks and blues).

So much over the years though.

Convincing people to come to our regional show from out of town / state.

I did, in the last several years start to spur my one aunt into quilting more, with my enthusiasm for it, and it has been nice to be able to share some of the hobby with someone I knew before. We joked about Cow Quilts, drove all the way to Michigan from Kansas / Iowa just to see some quilts and some internet friends.

Countless jokes about “Is she done yet?” or “Quilts don’t go on beds, they go on walls.” or “If you just made a little larger, it would be a nice blanket.” have been staples of my quilting journey over the last 10 years.

But also affirmations about being creative, having good color sense, designing by book and by program. Creating my own podcast for a few years, this blog, various online social media accounts, various retreats, a few in other states, renting a long arm, getting better at free motion quilting myself, design, quilt, create, write pattern for my guild opportunity quilt, and the upcoming and annual, continuing March A Long month- long-every-day-sewing inspiration.

So much in only 10 years! Was not sure where I was going to be 10 years ago, but because of you, I have enriched my life, my creativity, my art, and found such satisfaction and sometimes peace.

Upcoming posts about March A long will hopefully catch you all up to the last few months of quilting progress and quilting! This blog has become less about you, and more about me, and that’s not really ideal, but it is what has happened. I am still grateful for 10 years of quilting journeys!

 

 

 

 

 

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43.1 “Handwork” to avoid carrying around my machine

October 5, 2018

A small sewing group meets about once a month and I have been able to be a part of it. I took my pinwheel blocks, which are leftover from as swap from 2010 or 2011 and decided to ask if I could learn how to “spin the centers” of the back of the pinwheels

Somehow I had a little bit of a struggle. One, I misheard and started pulling apart the backs of the last seam instead of the next to last seam. Things went crazy. The block was re-sewn.

Eventually I did get it figured out, with the help of my friends. I didn’t cut off my dog ears before sewing these down, which actually made it decently easy to pop the opposite seam (both sides) and flatten it out. I sat the afternoon and got most, if not all, the pinwheels popped. I had 88 pinwheels to do.

Then, sometime the last few months in between projects, I got some sashing, cornerstones figured out and cut to size.

Which meant I had to trim up my pinwheels to the same size.

I was able to use some offline time away from my machine, away from internet to work on these. It was sorta tiresome, but the perfect opportunity to do a little bit of offline sewing.

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42.8 Offset Dresden Flower

August 20, 2018

Since I was working on my watermelon Dresden quilt several years ago, I cut some extra red Dresden petals. They were too short for the length of petals on that project, they were all the same fabric, there wasn’t enough to make a full plate.

They kept finding themselves hanging around my stuff.

See on the right?

I finally decided to make a few more petals to round it out. Red / black combos are some of my favorite. So today some grey petals were born

I would be 2 petals short of the full patten for this alternating design.

I was finding several different fabrics that could center with the Dresden.

After noticing that I could pick some of the petals from the fabrics from the centers of the block, I tried some out.

I have been playing with the centers.

I am imagining the black bias tape as if this was a strange flower. I just had the bias tape out, and now I have put it away, and hid it from myself. So that will be as I found it.

My latest thought on this strange quilt flower, is to not center exactly the circles on the top of the Dresden.

It has been a very fun day, just working through a project from “start” to finish. I need to figure out which of my light backgrounds this should be appliquéd to. I am trying to decide if I am adding more circles nearby.

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42.7 Swinging back in

August 10, 2018

The quilt show was close to a month ago. I still can’t believe how much of an impact it had on my life this year.

The last few weekends, I have made a rather restorative decision to sew at home with any time off I have had. This was to “calm down already” and I feel it was necessary.

First it was a reorganization of my books and patterns. I had the idea to put the shorter size pattern into shorter 3ring binders.

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The patterns regularly are half size normal paper. It is easier to put the regular patterns into short binder. Originally I had them all in 8.5 X 11 sheets. This worked, but was thick and flumpy.

Ones with paper patterns or fabrics are too thick to fit in the shorter binders without bending or tearing, but I managed to get all the patterns put away this way into something viewable and accessible.

The smaller binder seems to be a good option. They are half the size of the regular binder and I found a small box of pages also on amazon. Good idea to save space on the bookshelf, and because it’s more accessible and usable, it will be easier to decide to pick up and actually use. I hope so.

Also shown was my Countdown to Paducah pattern I downloaded free this year. It takes up an entire binder of it’s own. I like the color scheme and sashing on that pattern a lot. Not sure if it is free anymore or not.

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I reorganized my books, my projects in my closet that hadn’t seen the light of day since I moved, and even longer. I found this appliqué project I purchased from a local guild member at a garage sale. Not certain who donated or when.

Lucky me, even though there was fabric from the previous owner of the pattern, I supplemented with some of my own. This was cathartic for me, both the fabric selection and the rest of this pattern. I liked the tracing and the fixing of the heat n bond onto the back, and the cutting out of the fabrics, some of which I did outside overlooking my garden.

I swapped out fabrics a few times. I have one purple flower, one lighter flower, and two bluer flowers.

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Yes the pattern is swapped around, but no one knows that (shh don’t tell), or I don’t frankly care. The pattern is Forget Me Not Stained Glass from a company in Alaska.

It was the first time using the premade bias tape, and this was heavenly to use. So easy to hide any cutting mistakes.

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I currently have it not sewn down as of yet, all ironed up into the basic version of what it will eventually look like. Since I am going to sew it down as quilt as you go, I have yet to get the backing or batting ready, and am considering changing up the borders slightly to how the pattern has it anyway.

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Any event, it’s very lovely on my design wall at the moment.

I hadn’t thought that much about it, but the forget me not applique pattern was the first and only just me, just having nothing to do with other people type of pattern. No responsibilities or tied to anyone else. Aside from how I purchased it.

Also on my design wall is another set of quilt parts I have scavenged this year, working from someone else’s base scraps.

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I am looking forward to making this into another mini quilt for my wall somewhere. This gives the slight renaissance festival vibe, and I have yet to prepare the bottom and top for appliqué onto a base fabric. I like looking at, and thinking about these pre made pieces. I also like the idea of taking another’s design, and co-opting it for my own, and how it might not be the same realm of interpretation as the original idea from the person who I bought the premade scraps from.

Another thing to work on this year is the mystery quilt I have been doing with Charlotte Hawkes group. The main quilt revealed back in April or May. So I guess I can say spoilers ahead, but they are now several months back.

*** spoilers ***

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I have been staring at this pattern for months now. Putting aside this quilt to work on the quilt show. The last few pieces of one of the steps still needed some TLC and finishing.

it wasn’t until this weekend or last the I finally got the smaller sub blocks done.

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I am getting the last touches of the main blocks done that include the sub blocks. I think I ended up counting 24 of these sets today. 6 are done, 18 are somewhere in process.

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My main leader and ender had been my warm color version of my modified rail fence, but in all the rebirth, I decided to pull out some pinwheels and knock out some more 5 inch block stash at the same time. So new pinwheel pieces cut for leaders and enders.

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I am not sure why several stray blocks were pinwheeled backwards, but they were. (not shown below)

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I am currently trying to decide to unpick the backwards ones or not. A few of these were made for some kind of swap with the Twilter podcast loving group that was starting to come together to do things at the time. I am thinking this was done 2010 or 2011 or so. I suppose I wrote a blog post about it some time back.

Maybe I should be soliciting a 5″ square swap of my own. To supplement these blocks.

I do recognize several of these pinwheels as coming out of my own stash, but not all. I must have only traded a couple of the pinwheel blocks, and decided to upsize the quilt on my own. I know originally I was going to sash all them with the harlequin pattern with paper piecing, but I am less sure I want to to that now.

The sashing or block lining would disguise the inconsistencies in pinwheel turning, and would upsize the quilt in general as well. Decisions still to be made here on this quilt.

This takes me up to current time, for the moment.

I am hoping to get back to Free Motion Quilting more soon too. I bought this apparatus, but do not yet have the clamps to be able to make it work to my advantage.

Now I have to prepare again to herd cats with the opportunity quilt for the guild and give another report on Tuesday. I have about half the blocks needed for the quilt as designed. Actually less. Just looking at my notes, I have blocked off one more person that have made blocks than blocks I actually have in my possession.

Blocks for this project due September meeting, so we all have time, but right now out of the 42 blocks I need, I have a total of 13 in my possession. I am already starting to get nervous to get in front of the group about this on Tuesday.

Oh, and after the blocks made, we need to have borders made, and no one else has signed up to help on that yet. I was really hoping some of the alternate blocks would be some cool color other than green. I am gunning for purple personally. For at least a few blocks. But those are the ones I have less of.

I really need to stop all this talking in front of the guild. I don’t think it’s all that good for me and/or my health. Maybe next year??? Once the quilt is made.

But I also have to report in on my part of the guild show. Which went really well. Still sorta mad I didn’t get all the pictures I had wanted. I am sure there are some other fantastic quilts there I missed.

Two days before more “public speaking”. Sigh.

Later!