Sunday, August 20, 2017

Machine Quilting and Robert Frost

For a past few days I have had couple lines from a poem running through my head:

"The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
Robert Frost, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" 
I know that the original meaning of the poem absolutely does not apply to quilting; but, man,  these words have been resonating with me the last couple of days!

I try to set myself goals when I machine quilt.  Setting goals keeps me focused and accountable.  But, sometimes these goals are maybe a little too lofty! 


 

I wanted to get a section of background finished today.  A HUGE section to be honest!  I set a goal for this weekend and it was a big goal.  I wanted to get all the cross-hatch done in between the rows and I think that this may have been too lofty a goal for the weekend.  Especially since the weather is lovely today and there are other things I think I'd rather be doing - and - frankly, the quilting will still be there tomorrow!

So, although I have promises to keep, to myself, and, miles to go, I will give myself permission to stop for a bit and get outside :-D  Besides - there are still more hours in the day before I sleep ;-)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Curves Progress

Lately I feel like I am obsessed with curves!  Do you do this?  Get obsessed with a technique, or a ruler, or a thread etc and that's all you want to work on??  Well, this is me with curves right now :-D  And, I am A-OK with it!

I have loaded the Curve It Up Sampler by Sew Kind of Wonderful onto my frame and started quilting it.  I decided not to give into the temptation of an all-over quilting design across this sampler quilt and do an all custom job with a theme.

 

 Each block will be quilted with pebbles, echo quilting, free-hand tight hatching and ruler hatching - ok there's a plan :-D  The hardest part is deciding what to quilt to me sometimes.  Especially on a quilt that I really like and want to push myself on ;-)


Where it all stalled was the background fill for me.  My first impulse was to cross-hatch and then do a tight fill in every second square.  That sounded like a lot of work to me so I tried to think of something else - maybe a pebble fill?  Again a lot of work!

I put off the background for as long as I could until . . . . 

 

 Oops!  I am almost out of thread!!  Time to order more FilTech Glide White!  This is my go-to thread - I love the shine, the strength and the lack of link not to mention the amazing pre-wound bobbins they offer.  Disclosure - if you use the Glide link to sign up and purchase it is a referral link so that I can get a few "Stitch Points" for future orders :-D

In the mean-time can focus on the background and use 60 weight thread to contrast with the 40 weight thread.

 


I decided to go with my first impulse and do the cross-hatching ;-)  Doing the ruler work is time-consuming but I love it!  It's so rewarding.


 

I was right - the cross-hatch fill is a lot of work but wow!  I love it! I love the way it looks :-D  You probably can't tell but the thinner thread for the background fill looks really nice.  It melts into the fabric a bit more than the 40 weight Glide Thread.

 

After doing the cross-hatching for a while I found that using my Clover Hera marker to make a pleat in the fabric to mark the spacing was much easier for me and I don't have any blue lines to wash out later.

But, again, I hit a stalling point - I need my thread order to quilt the blocks!!  It should be here tomorrow so I won't have long to wait ;-)

I was so tempted to start a new project as I have a few new patterns burning a hole in my  project binder but I decided to be a good girl instead and pull out my incomplete Metro Rings project.  I have 12 blocks finished - which is what the pattern called for; but, I had decided to make the project bigger than a lap quilt early on.

 

So, the project came out and I put a few hours into cutting more white fabric and piecing the blocks together.  It feels good to work on this again - it's a WIP (work in progress) again instead of a UFO banished to my overflowing quilt closet!  I have so many tops in there to quilt so I need to stay focused and get some projects done, especially when I really like the project, instead of jumping onto the next one!   I think that I will work on this project for a while longer.

I find that if I keep a project out on my sewing table, pieces sorted and ready to go, with the machine set up with the appropriate thread etc I will sit down and put a few minutes in here and there.  I call this my "pockets of time" as in I use little bits of free time to do some work and these "pockets" really add up to get a lot of work done!  The key is to be set-up and ready to work so that if I have 15 minutes free I get 14 minutes of productive work done.  The set-up is the work - the sewing is the fun ;-)

So, are you a quilter who works on one project at a time or multiple projects like me??  How do you decide?  I would love to hear your comments!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Easy Binding Winder

This has been sooo very long in coming!

I have had my Easy Binding Winder since the company first did their Kickstarter campaign; but, well - I forgot that I hadn't published my review on it!!   I had it in my mind that I had published this but I hadn't.  So, here it is after so long!

In a nutshell, what this little machine does is keep your binding organized, neat, and easier to add to your quilt when it is time :-D  I love easy :-D


 

The cute little pink gizmo attaches to your ironing board and as you press your binding you wind it onto a spool in the machine.  I know that you can wind it around a ruler or cardboard etc but this truly is easier!  It's also affordably priced with package deals and shipping deals.

I am the type that likes to cut my borders and binding off the lengthwise grain; so, I usually cut my binding before the quilt top is finished and is quilted.  I do love having my binding cut and prepared well in advance of the final stage so this tool really helps me out.

 

After the binding is pressed it is wound onto the spool and easily removed from the machine.

 

The binding is completely organized and in a small, manageable package to save for later.  If you want you can purchase additional spool pins so you can store multiple bindings.  This is great b/c I tend to do a lot of binding with the same Kona solids like black or white so this allows me to keep adding more binding onto existing binding.

 

Or, you can pop the pin out of the binding and put it in a zip-lock for later (like I do).  Either way - your binding is neat, tidy and ready to go!  Applying the binding to the quilt when it is wrapped like this is sooo much easier!  When I wrap the binding around a ruler it seems to come unraveled when I am applying it but wrapped like the Easy Binding Winder does it stays together and manageable.

 

Because I was part of the Kickstarter campaign  my Binding Winder came signed and numbered with a cute little heart - ahh!  So cute!

So - my honest opinion???  I love this little machine!  It clamps easily to your ironing board and keeps your binding neat and tidy and tangle free.  What's not to like??  At the price-point it is it would make a great gift (for yourself) or others and it would be a great addition to have in your shop.  It is a simple machine that is well made, sturdy, and a great addition to my sewing room!

Anything that can keep my quilting process neater and easier is a keeper for me!

Monday, June 05, 2017

Pool Noodles!

My sewing room got a little addition yesterday!!

Pool Noodles!  

I first saw a great tip to store your quilts using pool noodles on the Sew Kind of Wonderful Blog quite a while ago but I had to wait for spring for pool noodles to pop into stores ;-)  

 

I got a few different colours to start in the hopes that I could sort my quilts that I use for teaching - IE blue quilts are for machine quilting (labelled 1, 2 3, etc etc), trunk shows are red etc.  And then, also, quilts for sale, and quilts to store.  I also had the idea that when I have cut a custom dowel to hang it it could be inserted into the middle of the noodle for storage.  This method would allow me to sort, store, find and transport my quilts soooooo much easier and with a lot less time involved! 

Well the other day this article popped up in my Facebook news-feed! 

Pool Noodles Are a Big Help in the Sewing Room 

What a great article with additional uses for pool noodles!  It was too good not to share!!

Now I am off to organize my new noodles :-)

 


Sunday, June 04, 2017

Good Sunday afternoon!!

It's been raining on an off for days now - bleh - so getting some inside stuff done seems like a good idea.  That and that fact that the bugs are HORRIBLE!!!

I have been participating in the Sew Kind of Wonderful Urbanologie quilt along - we complete one type of block each week.  I love that timeline of this!  Making just one chapter of the pattern each week is doable and it keeps me on-track to complete the quilt top this summer.  It seems like a win to me!

 

Here is my progress so far (I have it pinned to my Snack Time quilt on my quilting room wall) and I am really happy with it!  The pattern instructions are great and the supplementary instructions provided in YouTube videos etc are so helpful! It's also great to watch others' progress on Instagram.  I really need to do something like this myself ;-)

How do you like my lone green bird??  I made him after my parrot - Virgil!

On a side note - I have a desire to make a circle skirt sundress.  Something late 40's - ish . . . something I could wear a crinoline under.   Or not!  I have one in black and white that I really like; but, since I am really not a garment sewer I have been wondering how difficult this might be.  Maybe it's easier to purchase one?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Another Finish! Urban Chained

I am so excited!

I actually have another finish!!  This is Urban Chained by Sew Kind of Wonderful.  This pattern really appealed to me in it's simplicity and clean lines.  I also really liked the size - 46" x 74" - a perfect lap size.

I started this quilt a while back and just loved making the top!  It was really enjoyable and stress-free to complete and the instructions were great!  What held me back from finishing it??   Well, this is going to sound silly - but - I couldn't find a backing that I liked and I really didn't want to buy MORE fabric when my stash is completely overflowing and seems to grow overnight - sigh.

I thought that I had grouped all of my flannels in a certain storage area in my quilting studio; but, I guess I didn't because I found just enough flannel to back this quilt :-)

 

I purchased this flannel several years ago with the intention of making some PJ pants and never got around to it :-D  Now I am so glad I procrastinated!   How often can you say that??

 

The colours fit well with the colours on the front and it fits the bill being a nice soft flannel.  Win - win for me!!  Wahoo!

 

I took a nod from the pattern itself for my quilting.  I used 40 wt FilTech Glide thread in Cotton Candy to do this all over wave pattern.  This colour could easily go over a LOT of quilts and I think it will become a staple in my thread supply.  I love the movement the thread adds to this quilt and the juxtaposition to the vertical rows of piecing.

All in all - I am really happy with this quilt and I can't say that all the time :-)  What do you all think??

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Snack Time is Finally Finished!

Hi all!

It's a beautiful day in May so I thought that I would jump outside and snap a couple shots of my latest finish - "Snack Time"  by Jay Bird Quilts.  I have had this quilt sitting in my quilting closet FOREVER completely finished and with the binding machine sewn on.  All that I had to do was hand turn it to the back - sigh.  It's not a favorite thing of mine to do so it sat for a while until I decided to finish it.  I need to get started on the binding right away now!!  Note to sell ;-)

 

I really love this quilt.  I love the Kona solids and the bright tones.  It's a fun quilt and I look forward to having it up on my wall!  It will match the nicer weather. 

Although I used the pattern for this quilt I completely die-cut this quilt using only a few dies.  I did an entire blog post on how I translated this pattern to die-cutting.  It really is easy to do if you stop to read the pattern before starting and take stock of what dies you have first - I promise!

 

I used a 40 weight FilTech Glide thread in white on the top and back and used one of my Loricles grooved boards to quilt the baptist fans.  I was thinking about really custom quilting it but something about it just seemed too much :-/

It's odd that I finished the baby quilt made of left-overs before I finished this one!!