Tag Archives: Quilt

This and That

Kitchen project update:

Remember that?:

Now it is this:

Remember that?:

Now it is this:

Fresh paint and new hardware.  Check!

Hubby is finishing up the glass cabinet doors, and then on to that floor!

The Widow’s Mite project update:

Applique pieces are being secured with free-motion zig-zag.

When the zig-zagging gets done, then I’ll stitch in some details with thread painting.

Update on the Weeding project:

Not so much.

What’s your progress?

Free Motion Machine Quilting Challenge – February

Month (lesson) 2 of SewCalGal’s Free Motion Quilt Challenge.  Feathers.  One of the best free motion quilters is the guest teacher this month, and she knows feathers!  I printed out Diane Gaudynski’s lesson and started sketching out feathers. 

Whooo boy, do I need to practice up!  I don’t want to use stencils…I want to master fun, funky and free feathers all by myself!

For some reason, sketching these feathers is very stressful for me, so I need to loosen up.  A cup of tea, and a search for chocolate is in order.

Yeah, I know.  Desperate times.  It’s all I could find in the house.  Don’t tell Hubby!  

My first feather.  I had problems with skipped stitches.  I tried everything…changing needles, thread, tension, fabric.  I came to the conclusion that my machine may be having an issue.  I am determined.  I end up with a tea-dyed muslin scrap, Aurifil 50wt in the bobbin, WonderFil Tutti 50 wt. in the top, a Schmetz 10/70 needle, and a tension of 1-2.

I also chose to use separate colors in the top and bobbin, so I could really see tension issues.  In spite of skipped stitches, the tension actually looks great.

The back (clicking on any of the photos will get you a larger photo):

The next feather was done at a later time and shows improvement.  I was more relaxed and actually enjoying it.

However, my photos stink!  Sorry!

This time I’m using Mettler 60wt. in the top and Bottom Line in the bobbin (I like this combination).  Muslim is the same and again I am using a Schmetz 10/70 jeans needle.  No problems with skipped stitches.

I kept chanting to myself…around the corner…around the corner…around the corner.  Diane pointed out that feathers were made by rounding a coin.  When I remembered that, my feathers looked better.

These feathers are stitched side-by-side, so I’ll have a sampler to refer to later.

I can do this!

Orca Bay and Small Stuff

A little of this.  A little of that.

See these two misplaced orange string blocks?

They are not misplaced any longer.  I’ve ripped and resewed and now they follow the diagonal black blocks.  I’m so happy that I only had to rework two of these little guys!

My sister created this beautiful bead necklace for me! (She loves me!)

In return, I am altering two blouses for her.  Yes, I volunteered…she didn’t ask for anything.  Yes…I hate mending and alterations!  I can think of lots of things I’d rather do.  I have a couple of clothing items that have been sitting in the sewing studio for months.  They are mine…so I can let them sit there if I want.  And I am.

One of the quilt guilds that I attend is asking members to create name tags.  And a friend gave me an introduction to beading.  So I thought I’d combine the two.

I found a leftover scrap from a quilt project to use for my tag (Oh yes, I love orange!).

Then I had to make things difficult for myself.  Why did I think such a simple thing should be complicated with beadwork?  I hope my name is somewhat readable when I’m through with this thing.

What’s the small stuff that you are working on? 

Orca Bay Mystery Quilt Part 5

Since I am not at home where I can finish sewing my version of Bonnie Hunter’s Orca Bay Mystery Quilt, I drew the design in EQ7This gave me much needed practice with EQ7, and a clear vision of the quilt.

In reading Yahoo Quiltville posts and link-ups, I’ve noticed that there has been some discussion on layouts.  One indeed must be careful about positioning the many blocks.  It is very easy to turn a block the wrong way.

I’ve only used color here to bring out the design of the quilt.  There are many terrific color combinations posted by Orca Bay participants.

The first layout shows Bonnie’s direction; the blue (red for Bonnie’s version) string triangle blocks all point to the light Ohio star blocks. 

In both layouts, the orange string blocks follow the diagonal lines of the layout and create a wonderful secondary design element.

The blue string blocks in Layout 2 all point to the dark Ohio stars.  This one change creates a dramatic difference in how the quilt looks.

There is no right or wrong; just personal preference.  You decide.

I just discovered that I forgot to turn a couple of orange blocks in Layout 1.  Like I said…it is easy to turn a block the wrong way in this quilt.  LOL!
For Bonnie Hunter’s Orca Bay mystery quilt – Part 1, click here.
For Bonnie Hunter’s Orca Bay mystery quilt – Part 2, click here.    
For Bonnie Hunter’s Orca Bay mystery quilt – Part 3, click here.
For Bonnie Hunter’s Orca Bay mystery quilt – Part 4, click here.

Make It Work

I’m back from a terrific road trip with Hubby and ready to sew! 

Having said that, what should have been a pleasant hour on a rainy afternoon machine quilting a simple doll quilt, turned into a discouraging several hours of sewing and ripping.  My beloved Bernina (a 1530 acquired in 1997…for those who want to know these things) was skipping stitches like crazy.  I tried switching needles, switching threads, switching tensions all to know avail.  She has really had a meltdown and needs to make a trip to the hospital.

With Tim Gunn’s words in my head, “Make it work!”, I got out my lonely little Janome Gem Gold and got reacquainted.  With the help of some quilting books (they make a nice extension table) and the Supreme Slider, she did a great job! 

 I am quilting with Aurifil 40 wt. #4665 in the top and WonderFil Invisfil 100 wt. #103 in the bobbin (and they work together just fine).

Front side…No skipped stitches!

Back side…great tension!

I’m glad I started with the doll quilt because the baby quilt will be a real challenge with this tiny machine.  There is just not that much space to work with.

Teeny arm space…too teeny for machine quilting!

The doll quilt and baby quilt aren’t going to make it on the runway, but they have a higher calling and they will be ready.  

Make it work!

Machine Quilting

I am sneaking in some time (slacking off from garden and kp duties if you really want to know) to work on the baby and doll quilts.  I’ve pin basted, so it is on to machine quilting.

I am using my beloved machingers quilting gloves, denim sharp needles (in this case a 70/10 will do), and a Little Genie Magic Bobbin Washer.

Yes, I know I could use a new pair of gloves. But hey…you can see how well I like them by how worn they are!

Since I am going to begin by stitching in the ditch, I don’t need decorative thread.  I’ve chosen 100 wt. WonderFil Invisifil 103 for the bobbin and Sulky Premium monofilament for the top.  These are fine threads that won’t add weight to the quilt and will virtually disappear in ditch quilting.

I stitch in the ditch for two reasons.

  • I can remove safety pins while stitching, which in turn, removes some of the weight of the quilt, and removes obstacles when I get around to free-motion quilting.
  • Since I am quilting on a domestic machine, as opposed to a long-arm, I feel the need to stabilize my quilt sandwich for free-motion quilting.

I am using a walking foot to evenly feed the layers as I stitch.

I like to begin by bringing up the tails.  This is habit from free-motion quilting, and it isn’t absolutely necessary for ditch quilting.  But it does make it convenient to cut off the tails later.  I lower the stitch length to zero and gradually increase it to the length that I prefer, about a 3 on my machine…you may prefer a different length.  There are no quilt police to say that I am wrong and you are right.  (Lucky for me!)

Here’s how the stitching looks on the front of the doll quilt:

And on the back of the doll quilt:

And then I realized how silly I was for using the monofilament at all (You never do silly things, do you?), so I switched to the WonderFil Invisifil for both the top and bobbin threads to work on the baby quilt.   And I was silly, just in case you were asking yourself this ever since I gave my thread choices, because the Invisifil thread is so fine that it is all that is needed.  Duh!

So here is how the baby quilt looks after stitching with Invisifil thread:

Oopsies…missed the ditch a little bit!

Had I had my thinking cap on (which is almost always missplaced these days), I would’ve switched to black Invisfil for the bobbin thread.  Why?  Because the backing on the baby quilt is black.  Lucky for me, it worked out anyway.

Pin Basting

Since I quilt using a domestic sewing machine, I am sharing my method of pin basting, or prepping for machine quilting.

I am blessed to have a banquet table (2, in fact).  If you don’t have one, perhaps your church will let you use their’s (this is what I did before I got mine).  It is important to have the type of table that has a small enough lip on it that you can clamp office clamps to.  I bought these tables with the intention of using them for pin basting…do not use your dining room table unless you don’t mind the distressed look!

I use risers to gain height and make this much easier on my back.  You can use coffee cans, pvc pipe or whatever works for you.

I know my floor needs repainting!

If I am basting a large quilt, I will match the center of the backing to the center of the table.  However, this is a baby quilt and I am not concerned about it.  Clamp the backing to the table.  Allow for an inch or so of excess backing all around.  Do not stretch the fabric!  We want it taut, but fabric has memory and we do not want it bouncing back when we unclamp it.  This will cause puckers in our machine quilting.

This particular quilt is shorter than my table on one edge.  Therefore, I will secure it with tape.  I like to use painters tape, but I’m improvising and using transparent tape since I don’t have any painters tape left (I’ve actually used it for painting  trim and walls!).

Smooth out the batting onto the backing.  No stretching; no wrinkles!

In this case, I am using a low-loft Dream Poly.  The thicker the batting, the harder it is to machine quilt on a domestic machine, so ya might want to stick to low-lofts.

No, my baby quilt isn’t a queen size. I’m cutting the batting to size.

Hubby brought sweet goodness home!

It is very yummy indeed!

Smooth the quilt top on the batting.  Again, no wrinkles and no stretching!  Pin baste about every 4″ (I pin about a fist apart).

Cut off the excess batting and backing if there is any.


Unclamp and slide the quilt sandwich over.  Reclamp the pin basted side.  Move the unpinned quilt top and batting out of the way and clamp the unpinned backing.  No stretching or wrinkles; just taut!  Continue as before.

Unclamp and we are ready to machine quilt!