Monday, September 30, 2013

Recent finishes

My handwork finishes have slowed recently as other projects took precedence. I was finally able to work on these last week:

Yoko Saito's Quilt Mystere Block no 3: embroidery:

This cute little snowman wool mat was suppose to be a project during our upcoming travel but I had nothing else ready to work on. It's from My Red Door Designs, a quilt kit I purchased at Cherry Berry Quilts last fall.

 Peppermint Place Block no 5 was quick to make. The top and bottom of the block will be sewn together later on in the process. The string in the bird's beak is to hold up a button star which will be added after the quilt has been quilted.

Now on to the last installment of the quilt: Block no 6 or what they call Pattern no 6 contains the rest of the quilt instructions and fabric. This is a lot of work to keep until the end! I wished they had spaced out the applique a little more but when I looked at the construction of the blocks, it makes a little more sense. It would have been hard and probably wasteful in fabric doing it any other way. So on with the prep. This will become my travel handwork once I piece the blocks for the applique.

The fabrics:

The instructions... many pages!

The freezer paper pieces:

Resulting garbage:

My fingers were quite sore from the scissors and all that cutting. Hope to get a few blocks ready for handwork today!



Sunday, September 29, 2013

Test driving

Just trying out posting via email... in today's wi-fi world, one can always be in touch! How fun!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Raising and dressing Lolah!

Last week while I was working on Sue with Lolah, I was reminded of a comment made by the Gammill technician who delivered and set up Lolah. He wanted to raise her frame higher because he thought it was too low for me. I thought it was just right so he left it but instructed me on how to accomplish this whenever I changed my mind. It has been fine... until now!

Doing ditch work on Sue, I found myself crouching a lot trying to see behind the machine head and I kept hearing Derryl telling me what he thought! :) So last weekend, with my husband's help, we raised Lolah to new heights... one more notch which equals almost 4 inches higher. I'm anxious to see how much easier it will be.

A few days ago while doing dishes, I spotted the UPS delivery  man drop this box off at the door! Always exciting to see a parcel!

I ordered the Gammill micro-fill handles to help with fine detail work... they would've come in handy working on Sue! I managed though but for much finer work, these will be much better.

Here you see where the light and handles plate had to be removed in order to slide the micro handle plate behind it.

It was not easy to remove the bottom bolts; first I had to remove the acrylic light cover then use the hex tool to loosen the bolts. It was a tight fit but once loosened slightly, I was able to finger turn the bolts. It gave me a chance to clean the acrylic cover too! Man was that dirty!

And here are the handles in place:

 The beauty of them is that they rotate away from the work surface when you aren't using them!

I think I'll get a lot of use out of these!

Lolah is now taller and dressed for success!



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Lolah's friend Sue!

You may recall I was entrusted to quilt this antique applique quilt by a wonderful (and brave!) friend back in July. I'm sure you longarm quilters all remember your very first customer quilt and how nervous it made you feel! This is why I've had butterflies in my stomach all summer long!

We'll be home for a visit soon and I needed to get this done so I could give it back to her quilted. It's a beautiful Sunbonnet Sue her mother made in the 60s or 70s perhaps even earlier; it was never finished... some of the embroidery is missing not because of wear but because it wasn't done. It has some small stains, the blocks are not all square, the seams aren't perfect but it's still a treasure. It was made by her mother and that makes it a special and beautiful quilt!

I thought long and hard about what to quilt on this top. First I had to find a backing that would complement the quilt as I wanted to use it for the binding as well. Lucky for me, Quilty Pleasures had this beautiful yellow print on sale in July and I bought the whole bolt! I love it when things fall into place like this! There were 3 fabrics on sale that day that spoke to me and I bought the rest of the bolts of each. If you recall, I returned home from a quilt show where I purchased 9 quilt tops to use for practice on Lolah! I have yet to start the first one because I've been busy with other quilts all summer as well as this "Sue" quilt.

This is my first commissioned quilt! YIKES! And it's an applique quilt to boot! WHAT to do? WHAT to quilt? I loaded it on Lolah and proceeded to SID (stitch in the ditch) around all the applique and the blocks. Yes I know; the seams were not all pressed correctly but I ignored all that! This quilt needed to be strengthened and SID work is what would accomplish that.

Then it rested for 1 1/2 weeks until I was comfortable to quilt it. How scary is it for a beginner to undertake such a task? I would look at it and scratch my head in wonder... and walk away to think some more! Then one day, the obvious set in my brain (it's slow most of the time but it gets it eventually!): why not add some traditional which her mother would have done as well as some modern? A little background fill custom quilted along with some cross-hatching in the setting triangles might do the trick?

I looked at the embroidery on the hats and some of the flowers on the dress fabrics and quilted similar flowers in the background. The blue light highlights these flowers; it is not glow-in-the-dark thread! I used Soft and Crafty 100% Cotton quilt batting with yellow PermaCore in the bobbin and in the setting triangles and white PermaCore in the background.

Then I added a stepping path to each doll...

Cross-hatching in the setting triangles...

 30 hours later (I know... other longarmers wouldn't take this long!) this is what Sunbonnet Sue looks like today!

This quilt will always be dear to my heart because my very first quilt was a Sunbonnet Sue with a yellow setting, perhaps not as bright a yellow but still precious! Now it is also my first commissioned quilt! How fun!

Margaret, this is coming home to you soon! I hope you like the modern take on the traditional!

The butterflies aren't completely gone yet but I hope the trepidation will subside soon! This was a terrific experience for me as I have several applique quilts of my own that need to be quilted and I know now that I will be able to quilt them with a bit more confidence. For that I have you to thank Margaret! You're a great friend!

Can't wait to see you!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Ripping lesson!

I don't know about you but I hate to rip out stitches, especially when the quilt is on the longarm. You can't handle the fabric as easily to catch the stitch with the ripper.

This is a method that is so much faster and safer for the fabric.

Here's where I wanted to remove the stitching; the thread on the right is the bottom thread.

Tug on the top thread to reveal the loop...

Slide your seam ripper under the loop then slide it sideways to remove the top thread from the loop.

Here is another loop.

You'll be amazed at how fast you can eliminate those mistakes.

Now back to finishing this quilt!



Monday, September 16, 2013

Project Cutting Table

Before I purchased Lolah, my sewing room was a craft room; it contained sewing, scrap booking and card making supplies etc. This was my table which I purchased used at Goodwill for $25 several years ago. It's an Ikea Galant desk with adjustable-height legs. Since I like to scrap standing, it's always at waist height which is perfect for cutting fabric too. Because Lolah was going to take up a lot of room, my supplies moved to the storage room aka former garage. I missed my table for scrapping and wanted to move it to the newly located craft room.

Last Thursday I went looking for shelving that I could alter by adding a counter top, short bookcases at each end for support and storage. One thrift had 2 of the right shelving but they wanted too much for them; they were the right color though! But I was not in a hurry and I wanted to visit other thrifts before I made a decision.

Sometimes it pays to be patient; that said, my kids and husband marvel at how, one day they can ask me to be on the lookout for something only to have me come home with it within a week! Thrifting queen is what our youngest son calls me. :)

What I found on Thursday last week was a crafter's table sold by Pier I Imports. I don't know what the original price was when new but I saw one on Craig's List for $250 and one on eBay for $1000; quite the range in price for a used piece.

Look at the price tag...

Better yet, Goodwill was having a 50% off sale on furniture! SCORE!! I didn't bother asking for my senior's 10% discount! It was already a good deal.

There was one problem... there were no shelves but all the shelf support pins were there. So yesterday, DH cut some 1/4" plywood which was perfect for shelving. No need for heftier thickness since these will only hold fabric. 

I was able to rid another bookcase of its supplies to fill these cubbies with room to spare.

You can tell it was well loved and used. The top has glue globs and the sides/edges have paint stains but I don't mind that. It shows a crafter lives here!

It's almost 5" narrower and 10" shorter in length which gives me more room to walk around the table and a shorter distance to my ironing board but plenty for cutting. 

Now I have a project shelf behind my sewing chair.

 And my scrapping table went back where it belonged just in time for a card making session!



Thursday, September 12, 2013

Storing a Mystery!

I mentioned at the end of my last post that I have fabric storage issues. I tend to shop for new fabrics when embarking on a project instead of "shopping" in my own stash. WHY you may ask? Well it isn't that it's hard to get at the fabric, but it's tedious. I have stashes in a few places and nothing is in order any more.

This is what most of my stash is like...

We've moved so many times and each time I have to change my storage system accordingly. These under the bed containers worked great in the house we rented as closet space was very limited. Now they're in my guest bedroom closet but I need to have access to what I have BEFORE I shop so I'm looking for ideas on what to do with fat quarters. I would love your suggestions....

I used to hang pre-washed and ironed FQs from hangers with safety pins at each top corner organized by color and that worked really well except whenever I wanted a piece, it was usually the one in the middle! I keep thinking that someday I'll have the perfect system but as I read many blogs out there, storage systems change with the way you use your space! A never-ending story in my book!

Meanwhile, while looking through these boxes, I found these fabrics that will work in Scrap Quilt and Stitch's mystery quilt.

These are fabric strips, not very big!

Who knew I had these stripes and stars?? Most of these are fat quarters with some pieces much smaller.

 And I found this container to store today's and yesterday's lot.

However, it's not big enough...

Must be on the lookout for a better storage solution. The wine box wasn't the right size either! Besides, we're keeping those for our next move! :(

While at Quilt Emporium the other day, I happened on Sewline glue stick mentioned in the Report on Glue post. Look at this side by side comparison with Karisma glue pen... see any difference??? I don't! Glad to know we're not behind the times in the USA! ;)

And while I was busy folding and arranging my fabrics for De Deauville a Cape Cod, Roxane emailed Block no 1 instructions! I was so pleased to see it and finally get started! By the end of the afternoon, this is what I had:

It was fun to put together. By the end of the evening, the sewing was completed and this morning I did the embroidery while watching The Quilt Show online. 

I did a few things differently: I crocheted a chain of Buttonhole Twist mixed with strand of Superior Metallic Thread in Silver then I applied it to the quilt first by anchoring it beyond the edges of the block then coming up to the top, sliding my needle under the posts (not through all the layers) and extending it to the next post etc... finally going through to the back and securing.

I also chose to add a charm to each changing hut and secured them with the same thread and using a buttonhole stitch around the charm hole. This way they dangle but stay in place. Some knobs are different too and I might still go back and create the same design on each door as on the red one. I'll see how it goes as the quilt is created! The instructions have a water feature to the left but it's absent on the original so I'll wait. 

Did you notice I added my logo to my signature? I created it on my Samsung Note II phone using the pen, then imported it into Photoshop, and created a brush in the size I usually use on my pictures. Now I don't have to type it in anymore which saves me time... more time to stitch!

Off to work on the next house block in Yoko Saito's Quilt Mystere. Have a great day!



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Setting up!

I mentioned in the last post that I have embarked on Scrap, Quilt and Stitch's latest mystery quilt called "De Deauville a Cape Cod". Today I did some shopping... don't laugh please! I go all out when I am "building"! If you refer to Scrap, Quit, and Stitch's blog, you'll quickly discover that I hardly "needed" all these fabrics! But who ever buys on "need" alone?? It was more of an "I want to have the variety" that spurred me on. Besides, it's a mystery! I want all the options at my fingertips and fabric never goes bad... it will suit other projects I have in mind for later.

Again, Quit Emporium was my go to shopping destination. And they didn't disappoint. They have a fabulous collection of stripes, polka dots and various other fabrics that I might want! :) Here are the choices I made; please note, these are fat quarters unless otherwise specified except for a few that are 1/2 yds... it's my favorite method of shopping and has been for decades! Thanks QE for your patience; I appreciate the time you spend cutting these!

This next photo is puzzling: these are suppose to be brown... the bottom fabric is a dark brown and the top one is a rusty brown. Very strange when all the above fabrics are spot on for color! I couldn't get the camera to photograph the correct color.

These next three are yardage fabrics. They appear lighter; the middle one is actually ecru... very rich looking in real time. How could anyone be disappointed in these??? The fabrics are luscious and have a beautiful hand.

Well when I left Quilt Emporium, I decided to visit our newest local JoAnns Fabrics. They moved and reopened just a few doors east in a space previously occupied by a Petco, a much larger space and better organized than their previous location which I avoided. I just HAD to have a look.

Here is what I found there... I was on the hunt for charms! If you refer to Scrap Quit and Stitches blog, you'll notice she uses several miniature charms. I was unable to find a weathervane but I'll keep looking. BTW: these were marked down 40%!

Top row: UPTOWN: Build a Bracelet charm style 3:; (they're sold in groups of three)
Middle row: Bliss Beads Charms (these are sold individually)
Bottom row: Cousin' Jewelry Basics metal toggle clasp: (1 unit)

Since I didn't know much about the scale these needed to be, I purchased this anchor with a rope: it's actually a toggle clasp! But very nice... the rope could be useful.

I'm disappointed in JoAnn's fabrics; it used to be they sold some middle to good quality quilting fabrics; these have no body except for the sizing/finishing they get at the factory. The weave is thin, you can see through these and if they were wet, I bet they'd feel even more inferior than when new and dry. I doubt I'll use much of these in the quilt unless I absolutely need a specific color/print. I've enjoyed shopping at JoAnns for many many years but lately, what you find there in the quilting fabrics department  is not up to par. There's no question it's cheaper; yes... and it feels cheaper; they've increased their prices recently too but the quality has declined! Some of the more expensive quilting fabrics by designers are also sold at JoAnns; today I didn't shop that aisle.

These are 1/4 yd cuts: they're not as bad as the fat quarters in terms of quality.

These are fat quarters pre-cut:

And the yardage I bought perhaps for backgrounds... a very strong "perhaps"!

Now I need a container for storing these. I wonder if GoodWill woud have another picnic basket? Maybe I will resort to using an old wooden wine box I bought at a wine warehouse to use as part of a display table set up for our son's wedding. Seems the divided box might be just the right size for these folded fabrics. I'll try that out tomorrow. That is after I rifle through my fabric stash to see what I have in red white and blue stars, stripes and the like! It's a pain to look through my stash... but that's another story! Perhaps I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Good night!