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Archive for February 2008

Our quilters’ guild had a “movie” night tonight. We watched one of Patsy Thompson’s videos on free-motion quilting feathers! What a treat. That’s all I want to do now, is try this technique out.

Okay… I don’t have all the thread weights she suggests… but let it be known, it is on my shopping list.

Back to wanting to practice this technique… and as she says the possibilities are limitless. But I can’t… I have a 7 hour work shift tomorrow (I know, I know… I’m not really whining about working, I’m whining about not quilting!).

I am really excited about this. Quilting a project is one of my stumbling blocks for a project. How do I quilt it? What design(s) do I use? I do understand that with practice, a few books, and internet resources, my quilting repertoire will grow… but I want to do it NOW!

Watching this video, has broken down some of my walls. I may not be perfect at it (which I know I won’t be), but at least I have something to work with now.

I have hinted that I would like her DVDs for my birthday (Paul if you are reading this… this is a reminder about my birthday). And what I don’t get for my birthday, I will buy over the next few months for myself!

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa – the weekend won’t be here soon enough.

I haven’t had the opportunity to really look through her website, but what I have seen… list of instructional videos, and the free downloads… my arsenal of quilting motifs and ideas is getting bigger.

Now I need to goto bed… and tomorrow evening, you can be sure, I won’t be around my computer much, as my sewing machine and I have a date!


I received an email from a quilter friend, inviting me to another quilter friend’s house for tea for “a celebration of friendship”. I have never been invited to anything like this before, so I was looking forward to it.

I picked up Shirley, and off we went up to Nina’s house. Shirley was acting a little odd, but this was a new experience for me, so I took it all in stride. Shirley pulled out a wall hanging to show Nina… and says to me “she gets to see it first”. I’m okay with that… still not knowing what was going on. Then they turned to show me the quilt, and told me it was for me!

Imagine my surprise! And why would I receive such a wonderful gift of friendship? The week before I had had a terrible week, well, more likely one day, but it felt like a week. They had decided they wanted to do something for me. So they presented me with a Friendship Hearts wallhanging.

Friendship Hearts (click on image for a large view, click your BACK button on your browser to come back to this page.)

Shirley apologized to me… as I had gone over a few days earlier to show her the Star Bright quilt, and she didn’t invite me in. It was a nice sunny day, so I hadn’t thought about it. She was working on this quilt and had it at her kitchen table.

We had a wonderful visit. I am lucky to have made such good friends.  I thank them both from the bottom of my heart, to make my day brighter, and my heart lighter.

December 30, 2006 was an interesting day. I took the plunge and signed up for a Mystery Quilt Day our local quilter’s guild was holding. I had only made 2 quilts, one was in a class, so very much a beginner. Little did I know what I was in for.

The instructions we were given, was the amount of fabric we were going to need, and to cut the fabric in different sizes of rectangles and squares. What were we making?

We showed up to the guild hall, and set-up for the day. It wasn’t too long when we realized, that we probably wouldn’t be finishing this quilt top in the one day. We worked at what we could that day. What fun! After each step, we received another envelope with the next step. At the end of the day, the hostess gave us the remaining envelopes. We had to finish this quilt off on our own time. I finished mine I think April or May 2007. The mystery quilt instructions are from Gumnut Gear is from Australia and “caters for all aspects of sewing from dressmaking to patchwork, quilting, overlocking and curtain making, for the beginner through to the advanced sewer. ”

This is my quilt top.

Mystery Quilt Top

When I had taken it out of storage, to finish it, I showed it to a friend. She asked what I had planned for it. I hadn’t really thought more than just finishing it, and using it as a cuddle blanket on the couch. She asked if I would be interested in selling it. After my initial surprise, I agreed to sell it to her.

I purchased a backing fabric, a nice blue flannel, and used a cotton batting. Nice and comfy! I quilted. I free-motioned quilted around each star, to create a square on point (diamond). It was looking pretty good. I then meandered all over the background, adding a free form 5 point star once in awhile.

Meandering Quilting Detail

Quilting detail - star

The 12 corner stars, I did a different quilting, using a serpentine to the point and back to the centre, meeting in the centre with a circle.

Quilting Detail 2 - star

The binding was a challenge… not actually doing the binding, but deciding on what I was going to use. My original idea was to use the scraps from the stars. Not knowing how to proceed, and realizing the time it was going to take to cut and then piece lots of small strips, was not going to work. I went shopping for fabric, with a dark green or dark blue fabric in mind. I didn’t see anything I liked. When I was about to give up, a bright cheery stripe caught the corner of my eye. WOW! The colours were bright, and would match the stars, and coordinate with the background colour very well. I decided to do a bias-cut binding, to get the twisted/twirled effect, like a candy-cane or barbershop pole. Another new technique learned… how to cut fabric on the bias for binding. I was going to hand-stitch the back of the binding down, in the traditional manner.. but the combination of having to stitch 268″, as well that the quilt was going to a 5 year old, I decided to machine stitch, using a decorative stitch, and a variegated thread.

Star Bright - binding detail

And the quilt is done! I am very pleased with it. It is the largest quilt I have made… finished about 67″ x 67″. It’s amazing how attached you can get to something, especially when you have made it yourself.

Star Bright Quilt - completed

I delivered the quilt yesterday, and my friend who purchased it, was quite pleased with it. She is giving it to her nephew tonight for his birthday.

The end of the Mystery Quilt’s adventure with me. I named it Star Bright.

What is a sewing fuzzie? There is probably a more technical term, but this is what I think is a “Sewing Fuzzie”

Sewing fuzzies are when the needle thread bunches up on the bottom side of the fabric.

Sewing Fuzzies (Click on the picture to see it full size, then click your back button on your browser to come back to this page.)

I have determined there are 2 possible causes for this… perhaps each contributing to the other.

1) Not holding the bobbin and needle thread while sewing the first few (6 or 7) stitches, especially when free motion quilting. Be sure to bring the bobbin thread up to the top of the fabric. Hold Bobbin and Needle thread firmly and pull slightly as you take the first 6 or 7 stitches… pulling slightly will ensure small stitches, which will secure the threads. Be sure to trim before continuing stitching.

2) Thread/Fabric lint in the bobbin area. Some threads will “fuzz” more than others, creating copious amounts of lint in your bobbin area of your machine. If you find that you are having a lot of lint, perhaps clean out this area, after every 3-5 bobbin changes while machine quilting.

a. Turn off your machine. (Very important – I wasn’t turning it off when I was plucking out the broken needle thread pieces in the bobbin area, and it continued to create fuzzies. Turning the machine off, “resets” it.) Clean it out. If you are on the 10th bobbin change, change your needle, or at least check it for sharpness.

b. Rethread your machine. Be sure your pressure foot is up, before threading. If it is down, it can cause some issues with the tension (when pressure foot is down, the tension discs will apply pressure to the thread, when up, no pressure is applied).

c. Stitch a test sandwich. (I am now keeping one nearby, as I am tired of pulling out the fuzzies on the quilt I’m working on). This will get you back into the rhythm of free motion quilting.

3) Nothing to do with Thread Fuzzies, but something I discovered… When free motion quilting, do NOT keep needle down. I think part of the problem, I was having, was I was pushing the fabric, when the needle was in the down position, causing the needle to be pushed (bent) back, and thus hitting the bobbin casing below, and causing issues.

My friends, this is my answer for a problem I was having. As I discover more, I will be posting them.

Everyone once in a while, my sewing machine “acts-up”. It just doesn’t want to work. Of course this is always when I need to do something.

So what choice do I have. The machine is only about a year and half old. A new one is not an option *grin*. Out of frustration, I turn it all off, and go pout and watch TV for a bit… what else is there to do. Well, I guess I could finish a binding project, or a redwork project… but then I wouldn’t be able to pout! LOL.

Is it my tension? I thought so… it looked to me like the bobbin thread was not being pulled up into the layers of fabric. I made the adjustments… eeek. Tension is now at 7. I had read somewhere that using the Tension above 6 was not good… (hmmm… on second thought, how can that be, as you should adjusting your tension for whatever fabric you are sewing).

I started looking for help on the internet. Maybe a course/class on Sewing Machine Repair might help. And if I can fix my own machine.. maybe I can fix others. But is there enough work in my little community. That’s something to think about later.

Now, not only is my tension acting strange… but my machine started clunking, and it just didnt’ seem to sound like it was sewing properly. Clip the threads, and take the piece out… WHAT! is all the needle thread doing on the bottom of the piece? Where’s the bobbin thread?

I think I have discovered what caused this! It’s me! Yup! I caused it. I’ll talk about that in another post!

So this is the beginning of my discovery of my sewing machine!

I received another book order today. Woohoo!

I received an order about a week and a half ago – two books I had ordered from – Crafters Choice Bookclub (Canada).

Quilt as Desired – Your guide to Straight-Line and Free-Motion Quilting, by Charlene C. Frable

I was very interested in this book, as quilting a project still intimidates me, in particular marking (this book doesn’t cover that). Free motion quilting I am very interested in; Charlene walks you through an understanding of the technical aspects of quilting, and then leads you through several lessons to practice, practice, practice. I have not had the opportunity to do the lessons, but have had a quick look through the book. I am very motivated to try this out.

Fat Quarter Fun, by Karen Snyder.

This book was “bundled” with the one above. I have several Fat Quarters (FQs), and have been using them in different projects. Having a quick look through this book has fostered an interest in making a quilt just with FQs. The patterns and what Karen has done with them, are very inspiring. It’s not just a book on patterns to do with FQs, she also has a General Instruction section on quilting basics. Although I wasn’t sure about this book, I think it will be a good addition to my “library”.

Today, I received another book order, this time from Chapters/Indigo/Coles. The story behind these books, which I did want, was I got them for next to nothing. How? I am a member of an online survey company, and I fill out the survey’s they send to me via email. Every once in awhile, they have a compensation and you have a choice of 3 items. I chose the gift certificates for Chapters/Indigo/Coles bookstore. I had a total of $53 in gift certificates accumulated… and paid about $5 for the books.

Some of these books my local Quilting Guild has, but I wanted my own copies for interest, but for reference when working on these types of quilts.

Bargello Quilts, by Marge Edie.

I have seen several Bargello quilts, and the size of them and the work that goes into them intimidated me! All those little pieces. EEK!!! I had picked up a quilting magazine last April which had a “small” bargello wallhanging. I figured I could handle that. (Which I did!). I made the quilt last fall. It was a blast, although I did not follow the advice I had received from a Quilt Shop owner. Do NOT press until the top is put together. And I offered to teach a beginner Bargello class, in May. So I bought this book as a reference, and as a guide to make larger quilts. I haven’t had a chance to do anything but browse through the “gallery” in the book. Spectacular quilts! A quick look at the Table of Contents, and she has split the book into six sections. She has a basic section, great for us beginners, and an advanced section for those who want to “punch up” their bargello, or design their own. There is also a gallery and a pattern section.

Origami Quilts – 20 folded fabric projects, by Louise Mabbs and Wendy Lowes

Origami has always interested me. Several years ago, I played with traditional paper origami. With a couple of young children, I never pursued it like I would have liked. Now that I’ve taken up quilting, you can understand my excitement to learn that there was Origami Quilts. Although this technique is a ways a way for me, I couldn’t resist the book! Again a quick peek of the contents, and wow! Its amazing what you can do with a piece of fabric. I look forward to looking at this book more in depth, and then of course in time, trying out the technique!

365 Foundation Quilt Blocks, by Linda Causee

There is nothing like a big book of blocks! In this case Foundation or paper-piecing blocks. I took a workshop last year at the guild on paper-piecing, and was hooked. This book will be a good reference as I grow as a quilter, and put my own quilts together. From some very simple/easy blocks to some that are very complex with many pieces. Linda has set this book up as a perpetual calendar. One block for each day of the year, including a few holidays.

It’s not over yet… I have another book order coming in… not sure when it will arrive. Soon I hope, but not to soon, I want to read the three new ones! I should be signing off now, and get these five books catalogued in my electronic library catalogue.

Have a great day!

PS… The Bargello wallhanging I made is the one in my header on my blog! Cheers!

Well this weekend I wanted to do something a little different.

With inspiration from an APQ blogger – StitchNiche (she makes gorgeous placemat bags), and my YDD – her wallet was too big for her pant’s pocket… I delved into making placemat bags. Not as elegant as StitchNiche’s, but my YDD loves it!

My YDD chose a turquoise placemat. I decided to incorporate a little from the Applique workshop (our local quilters guild held) last week, and use the new “Basting Glue Bottle” I made the other day.

Not knowing what I was doing, and making it up as I went, we came up with a pretty good bag between us. She chose the lining – blue fire (which looks like water in the bag), the straps. She also requested a pocket for her MP3 player.

I stitched the sides of the place mat together, then stitched across the seam 1″ from the bottom of the bag, to square the bottom a bit. I appliquéd the flower, using “glue” (see above link) to fold over the edges, and then used fusible web to appliqué to the bag. It worked very well!

I stitched the lining, using the same technique as the place mat. The lining had a bit more work, to fold over and stitch down the edges. I added two pockets – one for an MP3 player, and another larger one.

Attaching the handles were interesting. I was hoping to use a slider, so she could adjust the handle as she grew, but I miscalculated the sizes… strap is 38.1mm, buckle/slider is 32mm… I thought strap was 31 (grrr.) I used a feature on my machine I didn’t know I had. I have an overlock stitch. I shortened it, and used it to finish the cut edges of the strap as it was unravelling. Worked great! (Better not mention to DH, or I’ll never get a serger!). I folded over the edges, and used the stretch stitch to hold in place. Attached to either end of the bag, centering on the placemat seams. And stitched it down. My poor machine… it didn’t like it too much. (I think next time, my Kenmore will do this task). I added some hook and loop to the lining, so the bag didn’t gape open on her. After adding the inside butterflies (fusible web), I melted the loop part of the hook and loop, had to unsew that piece, and replace it.

Time to attach the lining. This went better than expected, although again the machine didn’t like the extra thickness at the seams. I thought the placemat was easing up with the lining, but not so, but the time I got all the way around, I had about 1/2″ of extra place mat. I just tucked it in, making a little pleat at the edge of the handle/strap, and stitched it down. And without further ado, here are some pictures. If you would like to see a larger image, click on the picture, and it will open in a new window/new tab.

Shauna’s Placemat Bag

Inside Placemat Bag

Inside Placemat Bag

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February 2008
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