Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Patching Holes

I borrowed a travel crib from a friend for our recent camping trip to Common Ground Fair (Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association). The carrying case had a rip in the seam so I fashioned a quick patch out of old jeans. The thickness wasn't even a problem on my new machine.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Commissioned Quilt

When I bought my new machine I wanted to offset the cost by selling a quilt or two. I made very low prices hoping that my friends would want one. Part gift, part product. I also wanted the push to finish a project, and the motivation to fall into learning free motion quilting. Here at amateur hour; they would get a great piece, with hopefully few mistakes, and I would get great practice.
Well I had one friend bite!
I couldn't be more pleased. I'm using all fabrics I already had in my stash and I have flown through putting the top together! The chosen pattern and colors are based on very few questions with him. He wanted traditional with subtle colors.
Given my limited stash I was worried I wouldn't find what I wanted. However I have a lot of small amounts so this quilt is almost a charm quilt. I do like some repeating fabrics, I feel it helps to move the eye around.
Now I haven't gotten permission to post progress photos; I haven't asked if he wants it to be a surprise or not, so here are some teasers.

Kids are great at putting the puzzle together

My other kiddo left me a polar bear

I have 42 13" blocks so it is 6 blocks across and 7 rows down. This will cover a queen and will be a good tuck in length for the full that was requested.


Washable markers

I recently was looking into some online people in the quilting world. I was searching for recommendations; for thread, rulers, supplies in general.
I had remembered that Geta Grama had done a quilt with very thick thread so I started there. 
One of her posts talked about how supplies can be hard for her to get or at a  much higher price. In a moment of genius she tried washable markers! 

So here I am to show you my own discovery of washable markers. 

I grabbed 3 fabrics and a marker. The bottom fabric is so dense in design it is hard to see anything. But I did do white, so there is that. 

The three lines in the left have no extra treatment, the ones in the right are steam ironed. 

Washed by hand with cold water. 

Allowed to air dry. 

While I wouldn't recommend ironing, the marks did come out. I had to rub the ironed side at all where as the regular side dribbled down the drain quite quickly. 


Friday, September 18, 2015

Free Motion Practice 3

I have 36 practice designs! Wow!

It is interesting to me what has been challenging and what has been relatively easy.

Here is the newest twelve.

 Modern Weave was the first I did in this new batch and when I switched to Orange thread. The thread really shines and pops off the fabric where the comes together. 
 Landscape has a lot of travel stitching to make sure the hills are defined. Even though there are a lot of stitching lines it didn't take as long as I thought, plus the less perfect you do them just makes the image have more motion.
 Coffee Bean is neat, however I had trouble trying to make it look random. The ovals stack so nicely.  Pebble Daisy is a good center motif, doesn't take too long even with the pebbles.
 Sometimes I have troubles with travel stitching but not with Pebbling. Not sure why- maybe because the motion never stops so it is easy for me to keep going. I love the visual interest of Channel Weave, really draws your eye around.

I felt silly doing the roots, because they are haphazard I was worried they would look lame. 

I think I'll take a break on practicing for now. I have been working on some blocks for a ...... drum roll.... commissioned piece!
I don't want my client to wait in suspense for too long so I should get back to finishing those blocks. Not sure about what I'll do for quilting on it, it will be my first "real" quilted piece (non-walking foot). An all over design for sure. Large Pebbling with a neutral thread perhaps. 


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Free Motion Practice 1 & 2

I have been doing a lot of practice with free motion quilting. Some styles are easier than others for me and it is interesting to find out which my brain has trouble with.

Flowing Leaves
 Flowing Leaves took a while to quilt but it is one of my favorites. I can envision it climbing up a border. Or even making this bigger.
 Flowing Glass and Kidney Stones are pretty and give great texture.

Paper Clips
Paper Clips is a lot of fun to do.

So there we go. I have a lot more practice to go and I have already lined up which designs I will try next.


Thursday, September 3, 2015

Free Motion Quilting Practice

I got a new machine.
My old machine seen in the background can not do free motion quilting, just a walking foot. My quilting is progressing to where I have been ready to try the next thing. 

First, I needed to learn how to use it.  Little things like how to change the needle (which should be easy) where completely different. Since this machine goes at a surprising 1500 stitches a minute threading the machine is a little more complicated. This keeps the thread from to much friction in the wrong places and from tangling.

Second, practice. 
And Practice.
It was clear right away that I would need quilting gloves. So I have ordered those. I did try my local shop- not in stock and they did not seem to want to order some for me. So online I went. Shrug.
I was also clear that I was going to need to make my practice a bit more formal.

I then make tiny practice quilts. 

I have 28 to get me started. They are 7 inch squares with a 4 inch square border.
I am using  The Free Motion Quilting Project  for tutorials. Leah Day does a great job sharing her knowledge and also her trial and error.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Circle Medallion Quilt Finished!

This quilt is for my niece.
Originally my design was supposed to be easy. Do a medallion quilt, mostly easy borders with one or two more complicated ones.  hahahahha!
Making the circles took a long time, appliqueing took some getting use to. The flying geese is a block I had never made before so... they were fun even if they are quite time consuming. But maybe not 2x4 inch blocks next time. :)

The front
 I did a curved bias binding so I wouldn't have to trim off any of my circles. I found that I just loved the circles. As the quilt became bigger, more complicated, and intricate (look at that backing); I was trying to brain storm ways to get this done before my niece turned 30!
The back
Some detail shots of the piecing and quilting. I used a walking foot for all of this.

Note: after washing and drying some of the applique did not stay as one would want, so I will do a little more quilting around the outer circle border before shipping.