Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Just About Done!

Finished the border with the serpentine and circles:


Used a whole lot of Mettler thread in this project!


The last thing I do is to "sign" my work with a bat somewhere in the lower right hand corner....can you see it?


Looking at the whole thing, though, I may have to do a little stitching in the tree trunk...then I can wash and block today to go to Appletree Quilting with me tomorrow!

Have a super quilty day!


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Settling In With My New Machine

The cabinet to the Q-20 arrived Thursday in three big cartons. Dan hauled them all upstairs and assembled it on Friday.


Meanwhile, I continued on the Wishing Tree.


Got the light triangles done...


...repeated the curvy narrow border and then did the outer border. I'm trying to keep roughly 1/4" spacing on everything so that the quilt will lay flat when I'm done. And I'm sure nobody noticed that my binding is a couple of inches short? All of the leftover fabric was pieced into the back, so I didn't have any more of that one. Chose one similar, added it in, and if nobody looks at the upper left hand corner.....


On Saturday, the machine head was delivered and installed on the table. My friend Rhonda (who I love like a sister!) was at Bernina University in Las Vegas last week; when that was over, her husband Steve joined her and they came here to bring the machine and to visit for the weekend. So while the guys got the machine all set up, Rhonda and I went to my local quilt shop, Bolts in the Bathtub.


This is Dawna's latest LeMoyne Star quilt -- spectacular! She's piecing one for me, but it's way different from this because my fabric has skulls and crowns and roses and we're setting it into a black background.


The Southern California Quilt Run was going on so there were periods of quiet and then all of sudden there would be 10 people at once. Traffic was pretty steady, but I still managed to buy some fabric....duh!


This is the classroom and it's where everybody was greeted, got their passports stamped, could get cookies and water to keep up their strength....the theme for the run was camping oriented, so Dawna set up the tent and put up picnic tables -- fun!


It's always fun to go into the classroom and look at all the quilts.


This is a fun adaptation of a pattern that features a flag in the upper left corner.

 
Here's the pattern pic -- what a switch! It's one of the strip club patterns from Cozy Quilts.


After we got back from Bolts, I tested the machine to make sure it was running beautifully and then Rhonda and I sat downstairs and chatted while she did the hand sewing on a quilt for her granddaughter Ava and I did the binding on the Wishing Tree.


After they left on Monday morning, I did the straight line quilting with a Westalee ruler in the dark triangles. Of course the best way to learn a machine is to thread it up with metallic thread, right? I had to mess around with needles, but finally found the needle that worked well with this thread. A 100/16 Jeans/Denim needle from Schmetz turned out to be the one; I tried Topstitch in a couple of sizes and brands, but the thread kept shredding. I kept telling myself that patience is a virtue!


Then I started the last border, the one between the triangles and the first little narrow one. I was saving it for last because I haven't stitched this design before. I kept practicing on sample quilt sandwiches but just couldn't get the look I wanted. Drawing it out doesn't help me because I sew so much better than I draw; I just don't seem to internalize the motion with paper and pencil. So I kept stitching and practicing until I was ready to go to the quilt. It's a serpentine pattern, spaced about 1/4" apart for a few lines and then about 1/2" to make room for some circles. I'll get that finished up today and get some more photos.

Then I can wash it, block it and it will be ready to go to Missouri with me on Thursday! I'll be teaching for three days at Appletree Quilting in Columbia MO. I've taught there several times and love the owners, staff and customers, so it should be an awesome experience as always!

What kind of stitching do you like to do in borders? I've been making a few quilts lately that are mostly borders so that I can practice designs that can be stitched without marking. I've always done stencil work with a little bit of freehand, but I want to become more skilled at the freehand stitching -- I certainly have the machine to do it now!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Got a Little Bit More Done

Had a pretty busy day yesterday, so didn't get a ton of sewing done. Did a little more background stitching on the panel and then ditch stitched the first narrow border and added a curvy little design:


Then ditched the next border and started on the triangles:


I think the triangles should be done first and then, based on what I decide to quilt in them, I can return to the second border. Lots to do on this still!

Today I'm waiting on pins and needles -- the cabinet for my new BERNINA Q-20 is being delivered this afternoon and the actual machine will be here Saturday! I've been demonstrating on these machines for BERNINA dealers ever since they came out a couple of years ago. Having also sewn on a number of other sit down longarms, I think BERNINA really nailed it. I'm very excited to get this into my sewing room.


We took this cabinet out of my sewing room last month to make room for the new machine. We're using it now for storage in the garage.


...and now I have this big empty wall....just waiting!

Have you tried a sit down? Bought one? Which? Why? Love to swap experiences!


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Howell's Sewing & Vacuum, Auburn CA

Last weekend I got to teach ruler classes at Howell's Sewing & Vacuum. There were 11 ladies split between two classrooms.


Eight of them fit quite nicely into the main classroom...


...and the other three were in the "annex". I think the annex ladies got the better deal; it was in the 100's and the annex was much cooler than the classroom. Air was on, fans were whirling, but....did I say it was in the 100's?

That didn't stop them from totally excelling in the whole feathers thing:



I thought what they come up with during playtime was awesome!


One lady made what she said was a mistake, but that I can see could easily be turned into a feather in the shape of a heart, so I sat down with my rulers and played with that a little. Need to practice, but will look forward to adding that to my demonstrations on feather days.

Howell's is a Babylock, Janome and HandiQuilter dealer and will beat any competitor's price! 


Barbara was my most able helper and that's Marylynn, the owner of Howell's, photobombing the pic. Speaking of Marylynn, if you are in Auburn around the end of July, she is having a super Birthday Sale to celebrate, well, of course, her birthday! Sale will be July 28-29 and everything in the store will be on sale. Her website promises drastic price cuts and floor model clearance for machines, new fabric on sale and.....mimosas, brunch and treats! Auburn is scenic and fun and end of July would be a great time to take a weekend trip and find some great bargains.

Howell's is located at 13555 Bowman Road, Auburn CA (ph: 530-885-9624).

Marylynn is one of the most energetic people I have ever met -- when there wasn't a customer in the store, she was madly at work on a couple of quilts loaded on her longarm:


I was excited to see that Howell's is a Mettler dealer and she carries almost all of the line. It seems that 60 weight (fine) cotton thread is hard to find in a lot of areas, but Marylynn loves it as much as I do and carries quite a few of the colors. I use 60 weight for piecing all of the time, in both the top of the machine and the bobbin; it is just as durable as the 50 weight, but since it is finer, there is less thread in the seam, your piecing is less bulky and presses flatter.


Now that I'm home, I'm back working on the Wishing Tree quilt.


I think I may be done with the background. I'm starting on borders today; once I get those done, I can go back to the panel and decide if I need more quilting. Will probably do a little bit of texturing on the tree, but haven't quite decided yet.

What do you think?


Friday, July 7, 2017

Got the Groundwork Done


Played with a number of designs and three threads to texture the ground beneath the Wishing Tree. Above is the front and here's the back:


I really like the way it's turning out!


Next were the chevrons; using the marked grid as the guide, it was easy to do these with my Westalee free motion ruler foot and a straight ruler. Just lined up the corners and stitched! Much easier than doing all the pivoting with a walking foot.


At the top of the panel, the color is changing from cream to green, so it's time to switch threads to a pale green PolySheen and finish up the chevrons. Next step is adding the fill stitches to them.


Time to get the vinyl back out. Is this the fill design I want or do I want circles in between the chevrons where I have the cathedral window fill now? I'm going to draw out two or three more options and make a choice when I get home.

Right now I'm in Auburn CA at Howell's Sewing & Vacuum teaching Ruler Play on a Domestic Machine and Ruler Play 2. Driving home Sunday and back to work on the Wishing Tree on Monday. I'll be teaching Beyond the Basics at Appletree Quilting in Columbia MO weekend after next and want to have this finished to show.

Do you have any ideas for how to further stitch those chevrons? Please share!



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

A Quilty Sunday


 Finished the back of the Weekend Candy quilt -- now I have a very cute back and 1-1/4 yards of grey cross fabric to add to my neutrals stash. Always a good thing!

Next I turned my attention to filling the ground around the tree on the Wishing Tree Quilt. Reading Angela's books really helped here.


Placing the vinyl sheet over the quilt again, I was surprised at how much the quilt had drawn in because of the heavy quilting in the leaves. Started drawing fills and making notes about how I was going to stitch them out.



Picking my PolySheen 40 weight polyester embroidery thread colors,


changing the machine over to free motion mode, and here goes!


Tried the first motif out on practice fabric first


and then checked the back for tension. Noticed the little nubs where I stopped to think without taking my foot off the gas -- oops! Happens with an unfamiliar pattern at first.



A couple of pics of the work in progress; should get it finished up today and then start on the background fills for the rest of the panel.

Got a lot of quilting done yesterday, especially considering that I was sidelined for a bit by a small electrical fire in our stovetop! Yikes!!! I am so glad we were home when it happened and could get everything unplugged and the gas turned off. Now we're trying to decide what to replace it with. Viking? Samsung? Dacor? What do you have and love?

Happy 4th!!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Loving the Long Weekend

Immersing myself in all things quilty, it was a fun Saturday.


Got the last border on the Weekend Candy quilt. This was my least favorite of the Cotton + Steel Sleep Tight line; kind of looks like dirty cotton balls with ears!


This was my favorite; it would be a great blender with a lot of the aqua/turquoise prints that I have been accumulating, mainly through Stash Builder Box.


So this is the finished quilt. I take these pics in the only open floor space in the house and then stand on a bench. If I lean over far enough to get the quilt square, I fall off the bench! So I asked my indispensable tech-savvy assistant Monica if she could square the photo up better and she said no, but perhaps I could buy a bigger bench?


The grey cross fabric was included for backing as well as the turquoise for the binding, but when I see a pile of scraps I can never leave well enough alone.


The quilt reminded me of an off center log cabin, so I went with the idea. Here's the back so far; still have 4 fabrics to go and then I can finish off with the provided backing.
Other quilty things yesterday: Stumbled upon Angie, the Gnome Angel, and through her blog found Make Modern, an innovative, very interesting Australian quilt magazine available through download at an attractive price. I bought a subscription and several back issues snd spent about 2 hours reading them and downloading them to their own (not so) little folder on my iPad. Jotting notes and page references as I went. There were interviews and project ideas and instructions from several of my favorite designers and tons of eye candy.


At the end of the day, I settled in with two of Angela Walters quilting books. I'm planning to learn some new free motion quilting borders and use them on the Weekend Candy quilt, so took some time to relax and review some of her techniques. Great quilt for this kind of practice!

Today's plan: Finish the backing and then back to the Wishing Tree!

Today's question: If you could learn any quilting/piecing/applique technique, what would it be?


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