Thursday, August 10, 2017

A Quote to Integrate into a Sewing or Quilting Project

“I try to carry books with me wherever I go. Their weight has become like ballast against the churning sea of modern life, where so many real things are vanishing, and so many beautiful things are being made invisible.”

Flowering Meandering Stitch

I filled this quilt sandwich with a free motion stitch called flower meandering and I like it! And so now I want to find some free motion stitch patterns that look like clouds and waves. It's rather helpful that I can quilt on my domestic sewing machine and that this practice lends to using a long arm when I can find a half day to rent one.  These practice quilt sandwiches can also become a dust rag as well as filler for SPCA pet beds.

Happy Lotus Quilt

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Piecing and Winter Quilting

Hanging in my coat closet are the quilt tops I've sewn, ready for quilting.  But I'm scared.  I'm not very good at coordinating my hand with the speed of my domestic sewing machine, and so my stitches are so not consistent, nor pretty.  Free motion quilting is much harder and physically demanding than the long arm with its steering handles and stitch regulator.  However, I'll never get any better at quilting if I farm it out to a long armer, and renting the long arm is kind of pain in the ass, schedule wise.  And so I played mechanic today and brought out my extension table and changed out the presser foot to a darning foot and just free motion stitched a sandwich with just straight lines.  Ai yi yi.  I had eyelashes or bobbin thread hanging outside the top stitches.  Out came the books.
And the beginning machine quilting book offered sage advice.  After looking at my sewing machine manual, re-threading and re-inserting the bobbin--no more eyelashes once I figured out a sewing speed which of course I couldn't maintain.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Girl Blankie

This is my grandniece, Dani, and her mommy took this pic with her holding the stuffed whale I sewed her.  She's so adorable that I always want to sew just for her.
And so I did!  I had sewn her already a twin sized quilt with her family tree that's really more suitable for hanging on a wall, but every child needs a blankie that she can drag around and tuck herself and her dollies under.  I've always loved nine patch, and these blocks I actually pieced years before she was born.  I'm so happy to have finished this just for her:)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Free Motion Quilting Practice

I've been wanting to break away from the meander stitch and matchstick quilting with my walking foot though I love both and both are such necessary stitches when it comes to quilting.  And so I've been practicing pebbles, swirls and then resorting to my wishbones when frustrated.
Yesterday's Pebbles

Today's Pebbles

What I was neglecting to do with pebbles was to reverse direction in making the next pebble.  I improved by being conscious of where to go next and just rounding my motions.
 Swirls.  I love 'em but I'm not very good at them.  Practice practice practice!  It'll come in time I know, but I've also slowed my machine speed to medium rather than fast which has seemed to improve my stitches.

And here's my practice block which I've over quilted but is helping me to figure out how much quilting and what stitches to use on my stash busters sampler row by row quilt.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Half Square Triangles and a Dog Bed

Back to my large stash of fabric.  Despite making a sampler quilt in all color ways from the boxes of fabric in my closet, I still had (and still have) a lot of cloth to generate into quilts.  I think my intention for this blue decorator weight fabric were pillows for an outdoor bench, which a week ago I decided would instead become a dog bed cover because Elmo's dog bed had since become tattered and holey.  I also knew I wanted to practice sewing half square triangles (HSTs).  Double chain stitching!  I learned that technique from Jenny Doan tutorials:)  I didn't bother trying to mathematically calculate how much fabric to cut and how many HSTs to sew.  I would just sew and lay the unfinished panel over my dog's bed to see how many more rows to piece and add.

Our garden is producing a bumper crop of heirloom tomatoes (Taxi, Black Cherokee and Costuluto), which I just chopped and sprinkled with salt and julienned basil.  I was gonna toss in mozzarella, but then remembered my leftover lasagne for a cheese accompaniment.  It was a delicious break from all the sewing:)
Alas the pictures are deceiving!  The bed is very cattywampus.  Even though Elmo is laying upon it, you can't see the safety pins at the bottom of the bed holding the cover closed until I take the seam ripper on to it, resew and insert a zipper.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Sewing: I Hate This Block

Blech! is how I feel about this block.  I did not put together the colors harmoniously though my points lined up well.  Not to worry though that it's going into the schnibbles scrap bag because it's also free motion quilting practice before sandwiching all my different colored rows.

Quilting Work in Progress: Stashbusters ROYGBIV Sampler I, The Purple Row

 New Album II Block.
 Dutchman's Puzzle Block.
 Jewel Box Block.  This one came out right:)
 Pinwheel Block.
 Dutchman's Puzzle Block.
 Pinwheel Block.
Dutchman's Puzzle Block.  I got a bit repetitious again with this row, probably due to sewing many Flying Geese and being in love with pinwheels.

Quilting Work in Progress: Stashbusters ROYGBIV Sampler I, The Red Row

The red row was a challenge because I've a lot of pink and purple fabric, so I had to consciously steer away from any blue tinges in this row and reserve it for the next row.  It's difficult after sewing so many rows to say which is my favorite colors because I'm discovering that a lot of colors are my favorite.  I think when I get to using up the pinks and purples and oranges in my stash, I will throw in brown to tie all those colors together.  I heard a quilt instructor shudder at the thought of mixing pink with purple, but I rather love pastels when it's mixed in with some mud or chocolate brown.  Sounds like it might be hideous, but it really works.  Bill Kerr's Modern Quilt Studio sells a Desert Island Fat Quarter Bundle that includes the colors: Michael Miller Mud (gray brown), Cotton Couture Teal, Bamboo, Dirt and Silver which work to show off other colors to their best. Really!  Because everybody needs a wallflower to enhance their vivacity.

I love this red splotched pink, but I don't think this fabric lends itself to being cut up and then re-assembled into another geometric shape.  Oh well.  There's no name this block because I merely sewed triangles from cutting Flying Geese blocks to make up a diamond.
 Right and Left Block.
Flying Geese Block. 
Nine-Patch Variation Block. 
Flying Geese Block. 
Again no name for the block for which again I sewed a bunch of Flying Geese triangles to make a diamond. 
Old Windmill Block.

Quilting Work in Progress: Stashbusters ROYGBIV ampler I, The Orange Row

Old Windmill Block. 
Dutchman's Puzzle Block. 
Broken Dishes Block. 
Flying Geese Block. 
Constellation Block. 
Nine-Patch Variation Block. 
Formal Garden Block.