Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Away we go!

The zig zag star quilt was bound, washed, dried, and sent on its way. This is probably the truest colour representation.

It was approximately 54" wide by 72" long. This is the size of a double bed but it will be meant for a couch quilt.
The navy Bali was my starting point. I made the stars with a variety of teal fabrics but the star itself is a soft aqua with some mauve shadings. The centre square was a bright aqua. The zig zag was squeaked out of a mottled fabric that had some teals and touches of purple. It went well with the Bali and I did a bit of piecing to get my last triangle. You cannot cut a pieced block in half for the edges. You lose the seam allowance so they were especially made as half blocks.

The quilting was done with a variegated blue thread. I'd have preferred a better, more subtle blend of the blues but I had 2 spools of it and I wasn't as smart as I am now. lol A touch with a permanent marker fixes up a few troublesome stretches of the very light blue on the very black background. ;^) The quilt needs to be soft. I use cotton batts but kept the quilting about 2 inches apart so the quilt is pretty cuddly.

The backing was pieced and I would pay better attention to the fabric edges as the backing thread needed to change colours. Toile is such an excellent backing as the thread just disappears whether it be light or even the darker thread colour. This was left over from another quilt backing and it was really wide. I wish I had more and other colours but who knew how great it would be!

I hope I've answered a few questions about my process. The wee bit of pieced block peeking out from my design wall is probably my next project after I get my WIP blocks all pieced and the layout confirmed. Something to look forward to as spring approaches.
I'm off for a winter weekend away. I'll be thinking about my weekly journal quilts and the possibility of making them colour studies. I'll post this weeks quiltlet next week because I won't get to it till then.

When I wish upon a star

When I met my new neighbour many years ago she invited me to come learn to quilt. Making more work for myself by cutting and resewing didn't seem like something I wanted to do. I sent my little girls. But we became fast friends in spite of our differences and when she moved again within the year I went to visit her and she took me to Quilt Canada. Whoa!!! Totally changed my work ethic! LOL

She has been diagnosed with the big C and I knew she needed a quilt. This zig zag star top has been in my Loose Feathers section waiting for this moment.

I got to know my new machine when I did the zig zags. I used the walking/evenfeed foot and the guide to mark my line. I am constrained by time and I want a soft quilt so the lines are far apart.

I did a free motion heart in each centre and then I did a curved outline around the centre and around the star. This was surprisingly easy to do. I'll do more.

I wanted a free form, unmarked shape for the outer square. I was thinking something like an ele in script but it morphed into a kinda bud or leaf shape. By the time I was done I had figured the best way to do it and I unpicked the first 2 blocks to improve them.

I got to luv Nina when we finally got into the free motion MQing zone. I remembered why I luv machine sewing!

I like the effect of variegated thread but I do not like the real light on the dark nor the real dark on the light fabric. I wish I could find a better blendable brand of variegated thread.

I will use that walking foot to put on the binding because this afternoon another neighbour and good friend is coming to help hand sew the binding. She sews but doesn't quilt.

I wish everyone had good friends, best buds.

I wish everyone had good health, robust.

I wish everyone had good hobbies, creating.

(I also wish I could take better photos.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I spent yesterday organizing, sorting, selecting colours for the colour class.

This was part 2 as we used the colour wheel to identify various colour groups. The class itself was the bonus as I had already begun to identify some glaring gaps in my repertoire!

According to my file folders I collect particularly strong complimentary colour groupings.
But according to my actual quilts I make monochromatic or analogous colour schemes.
It seems I play it way too safe.
I think I want to change that.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pecking away!

Any visitors before lunch today will likely catch me in my jammies. A busy day here in the Coop and Saucer Playroom. I'm so busy my brand new fat pocket book is firmly placed with its face to the wall so I can resist the urge to check the next chapter. lol I will be dressed for lunch as the truck is scheduled for an oil change and the next chapter will keep me from gnashing my teeth as I consider my down time. ;^)

The 3CS weekly Journal Challenge is due Fridays. I'm so impressed I'm keeping up but decided a quick free motion stork ( Crafter's Pattern Source Book) on a Bali was all I could manage this morning. I need to upgrade my MQing skills on my new machine which does things a bit differently.
The quiltlet is a quick finish edge and a snazzy backing that has a slightly oriental theme.
Next up is a comfort quilt for the friend who introduced me to quilting. Because this is a new machine and a new set up I put in lots of pins. The better you are at MQing, the less pinning. This would be a good amount of pinning for a beginner. I straight pin the edges and then machine baste with the even feed (walking) foot right away so I don't get stabbed too much. I trim off the extra batting and I'm ready to begin. Often prepping the quilt sandwich gets the ideas perculating. This helps with the placement of the pins as I'd rather not stop at everyone to remove it.

I really luv my big craft table and noticed how good I felt standing to work so I began to sew occasionally on it. Turns out my new machine is too big for my old cabinet so I folded it up, stuck it at the end of the cutting table and added some boards to get Nina even with the table top.
Hmm, I need more room on the left and whatta ya know... The cupboard I've used as an ironing station and scrap collector is as high as the tableand is right behind me. So I shoved that close. My cutting mat smoothes the transition over the various edges. I'm good to go. I'll be tweaking this I''m sure but for now it works. I really was intrigued with Monika at My Sweet Prairie. She uses that thick pink foam core insulation to surround her machine. Ah, two staples down here on the farm are twine and styro foam insulation. I got access!!!
I'm using the even feed foot to straight line the zig zag on the quilt and then I'll free motion the stars. At least that is the plan. I hope to zig zag my way thru the day and probably thru the weekend. It was great having coffee with you!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nice Nina

I am so glad I quieted my beating heart thru the initial learning curve. Nina is amazing! Way beyond my expectations and much simpler than I expected.

I find the start process a bit awkward still. No lever to raise the foot and you start sewing in what looks like mid air to me, but it works. I am relearning the free motion skills. The stitch regulator is confusing me a bit and I'm hesitating too much trying to anticipate what the sounds are all meaning. I never studied the needle as it hops up and down in the past so I need to quit doing that and focus on the path and the picture in my mind. And I sure have room to do it.
This little baby quilt has been washed and dried, a very necessary step when finishing a quilt in my estimation. A good warm up for my next project. Sorry it is a bit blurry. The sun has sank and the storm, she is rolling in. I won't mind in the least. I'm partying with Nina!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Workshop in Progress- oranges

I have the top and the backs pieced for the two bunk beds. The back is pictured on the right and the front is on the left.

The back could be better as far as proportion and colour matching but this is about progressing in my design capabilities. Always room for improvement.

The top can be enhanced with some oranges (circles). I am thinking I could apply some fusible to the fabrics shown above and cut out various sized circles and sprinkle them on the strippy top.

These are on an orange background and are darker. There is quite a bit of overlap. The biggest would finish about 5".

This background is white with lighter motifs. These average about 3" but do not overlap at all.

Then there is a coordinating stripe.

My first choice is hand applique which I like but that would not improve my machine applique skills. I could satin stitch the raw edges or I could do some blind stitching around turned under edges.
Is the top busy enough already?
Are the circles big enough, too small?
Should I sprinkle a dozen or so all about or cluster them in the lower quarter?

oye! Time for a juice break!

A rose by any other name

I had never named any sewing machines before I had Berninas. But as I began to really get into sewing as a joy rather than a necessity I realized 'hugging' your machine and making it happy was fun. My first Bernina was a plain machine and I called her Pat. The second was fancier so she needed a fancier name. Ingrid seemed to fit her, a nod to her heritage. Lots of gals call their Bernina's Bernie but I've not felt the gender connection. When I found carrying Pat about to be too much I went for a light, cheap and portable machine for 'take out'! Mini was an easy fit. She is a Minimatic from 1972 with very few frills but I didn't need any. She is no Featherweight but she fit all of Pat and Ingrid's feet and is up for travel. I had got one of those wheeled carts that were designed for scrapbooking and I'd slide her in without her case and we were good to go. The problem was I was using two hands to get her downstairs and then down the steps. Grass and gravel, not to mention snow banks began to frustrate me so she is back in her case and my right hand gal as I navigate paths, curbs and steps. I might add that a full tote in my left hand balances things out but I could use Bernina's free hand system to get doors opened.
Now my new machine is heavy. A big girl, she won't be doing road trips. But she is not a Bertha. She is classy, a high stepper, and I think she would like all kinds of fashionable fun . I think she is a tad disappointed that her new mistress is not too quick on the draw and pretty conservative. I think she'll be taking me to some festivities where we'll flamingo dance, flirt and watch the fireworks! All in the playroom, of course, but... whoo! She's a Nina!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A real red letter day!

Well, this is an old free motion embroidered Sun Bonnet Sue that I wanted to show for the red heart day. It is done the new fashioned way on my old 'old fashioned' sewing machine; two threads in one needle and I just followed my penciled line. Totally fun.

I had a 1260 Bernina, a workhorse and excellent for MQing. I'd gotten an used 1630 for fancy stuff. I was happy. I really was. But I'm a machine quilter and all those bed quilts were beginning to affect the body as I held things up to move thru a small throat space. I began to think about that bigger throat space. When the 8 series first came out I thought I don't need all the bells and whistles. But that throat space. ? Anyway, I thought "no way"! A few years later I was at Bernina Club and sat beside a machine with that coveted throat space. ?? No Way! Then a few months ago I saw the Free Motion Couching Foot in action. WHOA! YES! But it isn't available for my older machines. Well it turns out that foot number 43 is very expensive because I began to talk to my dearie about my options. ??? Foot number 43 kept me awake as I thought about parting with my girls; 4 digit numbers and old fashioned, and trading them for some flashy, 3 digit, state of the art computer that happens to sew. It doesn't make coffee but the timer tells you when its ready! vbsigh I'm sure they'll go to lovely homes. Notice poor old Mini down on the floor. She is an old manual Bernina I carry to classes. I didn't mean to just shove her over like that. ;^)

The 820 arrived Friday but I was babysitting the almost 3 year old and I didn't think he was conducive to undivided attention for my intro lesson. lol

Nor did I think the bathroom flooring day was a good day to be AWOL. Old houses are always up for surprises during renovations and this was typical. After a long day we had the water back on, the toilet sitting pretty and the floor wrinkle-free. Only two blue words and maybe the grandson didn't hear them!

But Monday arrived and I spent 3 hours with Elizabeth, my wonderful dealer. I learned it all. At least I thought I did. The thing, oops sorry; Nina is a marvel. But she is a big girl and barely fit in my trunk. I was making 'get away from me motions' to any car that came too close all the way home. I did stop off at my dearie's work to say thank you as he rearranged a whole lot of budget for me to get it this year.
Today I got chores out of the way and rearranged some of the playroom. She is bigger and heavier and my old cabinet won't work which is okay as I now like to sew standing or sitting on a high stool. So I will add some kind of top extension to get her table to flow onto my big craft table after I experiment a bit.
What was perfectly simple at the store turned a little more exciting when I got home. First I had a spool achieve lift off as I wound a bobbin. Operator error! I anticipated some trouble with the new bobbin system but second try WORKED! But threading was surprisingly frustrating. It wouldn't do the automatic needle threading because something was wrong with the pathway. awk! I'm not sure what I finally did but I hope I can repeat it !

The regular foot sewed fine. Odd to not pull ahead and cut the threads but it is now a touch of the button. But I want my 1/4 inch foot so I can finish up my placemats. She sews but something has her knickers in a knot. I have some swearing on the screen. Red swears, not blue ones. lol

I've sent the picture to Elizabeth and she wants a little more detail. Ahem, I hope I can articulate what I've done did.

NOT a lot of achievement. I do have to admit that my old girls would've had the job done long ago, but Nina will settle in and she and I will be best buds in no time at all.

EDITED: Ah, she was saying straight stitch only or the needle will break and you'll be swearing!

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Happy Valentine's Day

A Red Letter Day Indeed! whoo hoo! My Dearie is THE very best!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Have a look

This is the colour palette for the 3CS Colour Palette for the month.

When I saw the colours I knew I wanted to make my spring placemats with these fabrics. I have 8 of the 12 place mats sewn together. Four more to go and then the MQing. The shape is a bit odd but I needed them to be more square so I could get 12 people at the table.

Very busy day here. My bathroom flooring is finally going in.

Good thing my handy dandy hubby has a helper. It gives me a minute to post my own progress report! And I hope to have a very exciting report on Monday.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Child's play

I may have to change my name to my friend's blog, Naptime Quilter. But being a grandma rather than a mum means I'll not be quilting during nap time but joining the bed and blankie brigade. The good news is that 30 minutes does it well enough for me. lol

Journal quilt number 6 is the crayon drawing I made.

Now Josh seems to like the back the best. ???

We had spread an eye spy quilt I made way way back when I first met Cheryl out on the hallway floor. (see first photo) We had all shared novelty prints that represented the 26 letters of the alphabet and then I hand appliqued lower case letters on mine. I had lots of time as grandchildren didn't arrive till some years later. But when Josh saw the crayons on the back of my quiltlet he went over and studied the eye spy quilt which has C for crayon and yup, it is the same fabric. (It is gonna be hard to fool this little guy!) LOL

Needless to say I am a bit behind on the colour palette placemats and I need to be sewing while the little guy snores. SHHHHH!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Good ol' college try

The 3CS has a number of challenges that I like to participate in. I am hampered a bit by being on dial-up so some tutorials can be an issue. The Technique of the Month is transferring colour and I tried a few things but I need to get the transfer medium. My trip to the city has been delayed so I won't meet that deadline but I did do some 'fooling around' with various things including a new box of crayons.

That didn't work so I wondered 'what if...'

I found the Faber-Castell PITT artist pen worked the best on fabric and I drew a border and then filled it with a little scene. Now this may not look like much but I'm actually impressed. Then I got my iron working on the fabric to heat it up and used several of my 64 colours to add some colour. I ironed the cloth with parchment paper between the iron and my drawing. Kinda cool! oh, I guess it should be, Hot Stuff! lol

The Flicker Group for the TOM is here.

The 3CS Colour palette challenge is a favorite combo of mine. I wanted to revisit some curved piecing so I dug out some old class notes. I did these with no pinning.

This is a little preview and I should have my spring place mats ready for viewing tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I found the oranges!

While clearing off the layers of projects on my design wall so I could lay out the blocks, sashing and set in triangles for the last WIP I posted about, I unearthed an old WIP.

These are for the bunks in the Sunshine room. The tops were done and the backing option laid out. Hmm, I need to finish these up.

I played around with a few more options after I squared up the two tops. I have lots of the dots. I divided it in half and that'll be the bottom.

I have one metre of the safari print and I cut strips and again divided them half for each quilt. I decided leftover strips from the front were too busy.

By the time I was done I decided that the stripe may work for a binding and the gradations are again too busy so I'm figuring maybe just the lighter fabric which is similar is colour to the animal print.

Comments are most welcome, especially "what if...". Can you see something I can't?
I need this decided, done and off the wall so I can get the front room quilt up and progressing.

EDITED: The strips of orange prints is the quilt top. I have laid the backing options alongside to see how they play together. I'm trying to also decide if I can 'easily' applique circles randomly onto those strips. Sorry I can't find my back link to the original post for these tops as I got the original idea from SueSewn and she had the circles on hers.