Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ribbons in motion Bargello

Here she is. The bargello that the quilting club was working on. You've been so patient waiting for the photo. The colours are a little off because it's a flash photo, but I had such a willing helper to hold it up that I couldn't refuse! That's my 10 yr old doing his "Kilroy was here" impression.
I really have it good, he's my biggest quilty fan. He's always interested in what I'm doing, what I'm making, what am I going to do next etc, in between being attached to his Lego and watching anything that has to do with Star Wars.

I think the next (???) time I make a bargello, I'm going to lay out the fabrics and take a photo first. I might have arranged the greens a little differently. But then, I kind of like the way there is a lighter line and then a darker one again. It really shows the 'motion' in the pattern.

Now I just have to get in gear and do the second one - there is enough fabric left over from the 1/4 meter cuts to make a second one. I only had to buy the background fabric. Who doesn't love a 2 for 1 deal?

Friday, November 26, 2010

Fear of Flying

I wasn't quite ready to declare that I was confident doing feathers. Yet. So, what better to cure that fear than to take on a whole cloth project with only feathers!
I took a bed sheet and sandwiched some batting and drew some reference marks. Then made feathers and more feathers until I could truly say "You don't scare me anymore!"
The best part of this exercise was that I also got to practise the fine art of traveling back over the same line of stitching. It took a bit, but I realized that I have better control on travel stitching if I'm pulling the fabric towards me instead of feeding it away from me.
Now I'm ready to do some more the next time I have a quilt on the frame.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Some starts, some re-starts, some boo-boos

Good morning to everyone. It's only 11:00 am, and I feel like I've put in a day already. DS actually went to school with a minimum of fuss today, so that's a plus. Then I dropped off the van for an oil change and to check because the ABS light was on. Next, to the bank and then to ToysRus for a Christmas shopping run. It turns out my local ToysRus is closing their electronics department and consolidating it to another location. I guess the Future Shop next to it will benefit from that decision. Well, on to quilting.

I posted earlier that I've started doing feathers. Here's a quick view of the stitching on my stashbuster quilt. I think it's pretty good for a first run at feathers!

Then, there is this little matter of a charity quilt I worked on. Our guild donates children's quilts to the CAS to give to kids that are taken into foster care. The ladies make the tops and package them up with the batting, backing and binding fabric. At our guild meeting we can pick up as many bundles as we'd like and bring them back, finished, to the next meeting. It's a great way to get some practise in for free, and try some new techniques, and not have the cost of materials come out of your own pocket.

However, this one taught me a couple of lessons. First: If your machine starts making a different sound that usual, investigate. Sooner than later. I heard the machine change it's tone, but the stitching was fine so I kept on. Then I thought I felt a bubble under the fabric and tried to smooth it, but it wouldn't. So I turned over the quilt, and this is what I saw.
Yes, the quilt had picked up a hitchhiker. I had some left over binding strips laying on my table, and one ended up under the needle. By the time I noticed, I had about a foot and a half to unstitch.
Lesson two? Keep your sewing area neater!

So now I've finished that little quilt and I quite like how it turned out. I made feathers in rows, starting from the middle and going around and around until I got to the edge. A loopy loop border and then machine binding. This time I used a machine feather stitch to secure the binding. I like how it looks. I'll have to do that again.

So that's what I've been up to. Now I'm wondering if the budget will allow a fabric shopping trip. Just yesterday I bought 10 meters of 90" wide batting - Fabricland had it on for $10/meter. It's not Warm & Natural, but it's pretty close. I gave it a bit of a stretch test in the store and it didn't leave any marks, so I think it should be good. It better be, as I have 10 meters of it!
That's it for now, I feel a nap coming on. The dog's laying on my feet - it's her way of telling me I've left her alone too long.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Friday Night Sew In

Have you ever had one of those weeks when life just gets out of hand?
Well, this was mine. So, frankly, Friday Night Sew In just didn't happen.
Oh, I've quilted this week, just not on Friday. Friday night was adventure time with the Cadet troop. We travelled to Ingersoll to go to the "Bethlehem Walk." It is a wonderful experience where you are led through a series of stations, through the bush, to follow the story of Christmas. The path is lighted with candles, and your tour guide gives you a talking tour as you visit King Herod, the archangel (in a tree with a spotlight!!), Roman guards chiding you to stay in line, roaming bands of theives trying to steal your "shekel", then through the tax booth where the 'census' is taken and you pay your shekel in taxes. Then on to visit a prophet, then see the star (up high above) until you arrive at the stable where the Holy Family is with the newborn Christ child. After that you are informed that the story of Jesus' birth would not be complete without the cross, so you see the Centurion at the cross stating that "surely He is Lord!" Then you see the marvelous conclusion of the empty tomb. That's where I was on Friday night.

Saturday I spent some time finishing off MY quilt, doing the borders, and hiding the threads.
Saturday night was another night out. This time without my son. He went to a friend's place while I went to his school for the Fall Auction Fundraiser. What a fun evening, with parents bidding against each other for unique items. The annual offering of a kilo of honey fetched its usual high price. As did the jar of peppermints. Each was well over $100. Silly, maybe, but those two items are a tradition, and the tradition lives!
The Renaissance quilt that I had donated fetched a lovely sum, so I was pleased with that.
I won a couple of items in the silent auction, so my son will be enjoying a couple of London Knights hockey games this year. Whether he takes me along, or his Big Brother remains to be seen. But Saturday was another late night.

Today, I finished my quilt. I got it squared up and the binding on. I'm cuddled up under it as I write this.

So that's it for my FNSI entry. I'm sure all the participants understand-completely.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Feather Feature

I quilted MY quilt over the last couple of days. Now I'm unquilting some of it. You see, I changed my mind. I found feather zen.
Up until now, I've had a fear of feathers. Oh, I like birds, but quilted feathers, well, I figured they were for the 'experts.' Having had a quilt frame for only a few months, and my Janome Horizon even fewer, I, by no stretch of the imagination, do not consider myself anywhere near the 'expert' category.
So, I started quilting following a simple, swirling pantograph. And I didn't like it. It didn't flow, it didn't suit the quilt, and it showed every stop and start. Yuk.
So I decided to do the next row in feathers. Wow. Freemotion heaven.
The motion was just so smooth, and rhythmic, it was soothing. So I did more.
Before I knew it, I was on the last row! So, I did the bottom border. I don't usually do my borders on the frame. I usually do the binding first, then do the border pattern on the table top machine. But the feathers just flew onto the fabric. So when I was done that, I unrolled the quilt back to the top and did the top border too.
That's when I decided the first row had to come out.
So now, I'm unquilting that row. It's almost done. Then I can do more feathers!
I have a feeling I've uncovered a monster!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Marilyn" purse tutorial

Well, you've asked for the tutorial for "Marilyn." So here goes.
  • Start with a fabric that you LOVE.
  • You also need lining. This can be the same as your main fabric, or a lighter weight lining. You'll be bonding it to interfacing, so even if it's rayon, it will work.
  • You also need some heavy fusible interfacing like "Pelon." and some fusible web like "Heat and Bond." and some medium weight fusible interfacing.
  • You need a 18" regular zipper. Not the large plastic tooth one, and not a separating one. It should be longer than the width of your bag. It will be trimmed later.
Fabric requirements:
1 meter fashion fabric, more if you want to fussy cut for the design on the fabric.
1/3 meter lining fabric. If using interfacing, fuse it to the wrong side BEFORE cutting pieces.
2/3 meter heavy weight (Pelon) fusible interfacing. This is only 22" wide, so you need more.
1/3 meter medium weight fusible interfacing.
Optional - up to 2/3 meter fusible web to firmly secure Pelon (It sometimes lets go because of the amount of handling)
Matching thread.
  • Cutting:
  • Back, Front - 10 1/2 " high by 11" wide. Cut 2 of fabric, and 2 of Pelon (trim seam allowance on the pelon and trim the corners to reduce bulk in the seams.)
  • Front pocket - 9" high by 22" wide (to allow for pleats or gathering) Cut 1 from fabric
  • Side panels - 10 1/2 " high by 4" wide. Cut 2 of fabric.
  • Inside pockets - 10" high by 13" wide. Cut 2 of fabric.
  • Handle - 4" wide by 27" long. Cut one of fabric and cut one of Pelon, but cut the Pelon only 1 1/2" wide.
  • Zipper edges - 1 1/2" wide by 11 1/2" long. Cut 2 of fabric.
  • Front pocket band. Make a template. Use a paper, 3 1/2" x 11 1/2" long, fold in half so it's 3 1/2" x 5 3/4 ". On the folded edge, mark 1" from the top. On the open edge mark it 1 1/2" from the bottom. Join the top open corner with a line, to the top mark on the folded edge. Join the bottom mark on the open edge with a line to the bottom edge of the folded edge. Open the paper. Where there is a sharp "V" in the middle, round it off by trimming the point off and round out the inside of the "V". Cut out the template.
    Cut 2 of fabric, and one of Pelon (trim seam allowances and top corners.
  • Base. 4" x 11 " , cut one of fabric, one of Pelon (trim seam allowances) and cut one of reinforced lining.
  • Side lining, 4" X 11" wide, Cut 2 of reinforced lining fabric
  • Front and Back lining - 9"X 11" Cut 2 of reinforced lining fabric.

  • Assembly
  • Trim the seam allowance off the Pelon and fuse one piece to the wrong side of the back fabric, and one to the wrong side of the front fabric.
  • Handle - Fuse the Pelon along one long edge. Fold it lengthwise along the edge of the Pelon and press again. Fold the remaining side under to hide the raw edge and fold it again over the strap and topstitch as desired. You may want to use a decorative stitch.

Pocket band. Trim the seam allowance from the Pelon and fuse to the wrong side of one piece of the front pocket band. Place the two pieces right sides together and sew along the top edge seam making sure the stitching is beside the edge of the pelon and not on it. Sew from one edge to the other. Clip the seam allowance in the "v" area and turn. Press and topstitch along the top edge.

Take the Front pocket piece and lay on top of the inside pocket piece to match the width. Take up the extra width by making soft pleats along the top edge, or alternatively, gather the top edge until the two pieces are of equal width. Pin to the bottom edge of the front pocket band (the side without the Pelon) , right sides together and sew the seam from edge to edge. Leave the right and left edges open. Open and press the seam, then turn the other front pocket band piece over the raw edges. Fold the seam allowance to the inside and pin into place. Topstitch along the front edge, making sure it catches the Pelon on the back piece.

Lay the front pocket piece (with the band) on top of the Front piece (has the Pelon) so that the right sides are facing you. (the wrong side of the pocket is on the right side of the front piece.
Place the top of the band 2" down from the top edge of the front piece. Machine baste the left and right sides inside the seam allowance, so it will not show when finished. Leaving some slack in the pocket piece, machine baste the bottom edges together. Trim the bottom edge of the pocket even with the front piece. Treat this as one "front panel" piece now.

Sew the side pieces to the front piece, one on each side, with the bottom edge even. Sew the back piece to the other sides of the side pieces so you now have a "box" with no bottom. Turn is so the right side is inside.
Take the bottom piece and fuse the Pelon (with seam allowances trimmed) to the wrong side . You may want to use fusible web on the Pelon to make sure it fuses well. Now it does not matter if you sew the front and back panels first, or the side panels first. I did the sides first. But these instructions are for the front and back panels first.
Pin the bottom edge of the front (both layers) to one of the long sides of the bottom so the right sides are together. Mark a dot where the side seam allowances meet the bottom seam allowance on the bottom piece. Sew the seam between the dots. Do not sew it edge to edge.
Repeat by sewing the back panel to the other long side of the bottom piece. Again, sew from dot to dot and not from edge to edge.
Now, pivot the sides so you can sew the side panels to each short side of the bottom panel using the same technique of sewing only from seam allowance to seam allowance. The stitching should stop where the other seam starts. Do not overlap them but get them as close as you can.

Your "box" now has a bottom. Turn it right side out. Fold down the top 1 1/2" over so the right sides are together and Press. This will give you a line for the top edge of the purse when topstitching the top edge.
Take the two pieces of "zipper edge" fabric. Fold one lengthwise, right sides together and sew a seam at each end. Repeat with the other one. Fold right side out and push out the corners and press. These will be extra wide sides for your zipper. Place one on each side of the zipper tape, folded side towards the zipper teeth and topstitch in place. Make sure the ends are even with the top of the zipper teeth, not the zipper tape. Now for the fun part.
Unzip the zipper, and place the raw side of one half at the edge of one side of the purse. Make sure the top of the zipper edge fabric is at the side seam. Sew the raw edges together (the top edge of the front and the back), with a 1/2" inch seam allowance. The zipper pull should be to the outside of the purse when you unfold that side over and turn it into the purse interior.
Now, carefully, so as not to get the zipper twisted, repeat with the other side. This is where the extra length of the zipper comes in - to give you the space and flexibility to do this.
Turn that side into the inside of the purse too and adjust the top so it is open now.

Now, for the fun part. Do it all over again with the lining. If you haven't fuse the interfacing to the lining yet, do it now.
Take the inside pocket pieces and fold each one , right sides together lengthwise and seam the raw edge. Turn right side out and press with the seam to the bottom. Topstitch the top edge. Place one on each of the front and back lining pieces, 1" from the bottom and topstitch along the bottom edge. Divide it into 2 or 3 pockets each and stitch up the line to form the strip into individual pockets. The sides will stick out longer than the bag is wide, but this is ok. Machine baste the sides in place inside the seam allowance on the left and right.
Then construct the "box" shape the same way you did with the fashion fabric, BUT - leave one long side open along the bottom. (for turning the purse right side out once it is done. Once you have it together, you will notice that it is shorter than the outside. This is so the fashion fabric folds over and reaches about an inch into the inside of the bag so the lining doesn't show.
To attach the two, place the lining "box", inside out. Place the fabric "box" right side out , into the lining. Push the fabric down so you can line up the top edge of the fabric with the top edge of the lining. Sew a seam around the perimeter MAKING SURE YOU CATCH THE ENDS OF THE ZIPPER IN THE SIDE SEAMS, backstitching to reinforce the corners. If your zipper is extremely long, you can zigzag across the teeth, and trim it to about an 1 1/2" leaving a 'tail'.

Now, "give birth to your purse." :) Reach into the open seam of the lining, and grasping the fashion fabric, pull it out of that hole so both the fabric and the lining are right side OUT, and they are joined at the middle. Push the purse part into shape, then push the lining down INTO the purse. Once it is lined up , pull the lining up again enough that you can either hand stitch, or machine stitch the open seam - closed. Push the lining back into the purse. Make sure the zipper closes properly, then leave it open. Press the top edge and then topstitch along the top edge. The "top edge" will not be where your seam is. The joining seam should be about an inch down the inside of the purse.

Take the handle and place it with the raw edge facing the top edge, but about an inch down and secure it with machine stitching. Then fold it up so it is the proper direction and machine stitch across it at the side panel to secure it. Repeat on the other side.
Now, if you do not like the look of the side panels being wider than the strap, fold the side panels into the purse, making them into a pleat and hand stitch them in place. Repeat on the other side.

Ta Da!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pics of Janome Horizon on the frame.

Yes I know, the machine is brand new and I modified it. So? I'm a tinkerer like my Dad. If something isn't quite the way I want it, I'll "fix" it if I can, So, I did.
The covering of the machine head had to come off. It was too big and just holding air. By taking it off, I scored a couple of anchor points to add the handle on the front. This is my 'steering wheel.'
If I could move the handle for the needle threader I'd move that too because it bumps up against the front roller. I moved the plastic bar that has the LED lights first so it would be out of my path of sight, then attached it on the front face of the head so the light wasn't wasted. If you look closely, you can see the steel 'repair plate' that I used to extend the bed of the frame by 2". It's in the back corner of the frame by the mirrors.
She ain't quite as beautiful in looks this way, but she works like a dream machine.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mini tutorial on getting the angle seam straight when joining strips.

Hi all. I had one of those "mother of invention" moments last night. I was trying to do the bias seam to join sashing strips and yet again, was distorting the fabric when trying to mark the seam. I tried the "press the crease" trick but unfortunately, my eyesight being what it is, I can't see the mark very well. I hate using pins, so, I thought: Hmmm.
I grabbed a piece of paper, folded it in half to get a straight edge and lined it up against the needle. Then I adjusted it so the other end was at the finish point of the seam. I stitched right up against the paper and "Voila" - straight seam! How cool is that?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

LFQG Quilt 'til you Wilt November 2010

We quilted until we wilted! Saturday we were hosted at the StoneRidge Inn just outside of London for our semiannual Quilt 'til you Wilt day. What a beautiful facility. We were treated so well, and the food was amazing.
The room was full of buzzing sewing machines, quilt blocks laid out on the floor, (BTW, sorry for my big clods stepping on one.) Irons and ironing boards were provided by the Inn. Over coffee, we worked on new projects, old projects, Christmas projects, and on checking out each other's projects.
I managed to get the quilt top done for Nicole's quilt. Start to finish for the top was about 5 hours. I spent the rest of the evening cutting and starting a second Bargello like the one my senior's club is doing. BUT - You see, I almost didn't make it there.
I packed off my son to grandma's Friday night, and Saturday AM packed the car, and off I went to our usual meeting spot. I knew there was a problem when I saw the sign for a church bazaar and the parking lot was packed full!
Yes, that's right, the event was not being held at the church. Darn!
So, being a resourceful blonde, I phoned for help. Well, I tried to phone for help. The first person I tried, I got the wrong number, and not knowing her spouse's name, I went on to plan B.
I knew our blog editor's name, so I called directory assistance for the number. Now, you have to understand, I THOUGHT she had a unique last name , as it is about a mile long and most of the guild members refer to her as Mrs. VMS instead of trying to say her name.
Imaging my shock when the operator told me there were several listings under that name!
So, vaguely remembering that her husband's name started with a J, I asked for the first one and got a John VMS. Nope, answering machine told me it was the wrong family.
Called 411 again, this time I got an office answering machine. Wrong number again, and they were closed anyway.
Called 411 again, this time got a lovely elderly lady on the phone. She said "oh yes, I have her number," and gave me the phone number. Now, I should have twigged in when it was a 905 area code, but I dialed it anyway. Sure enough, it WAS Toronto, but the lady did have the same name as the one I was looking for. I guess they're distant cousins, by marriage, twice removed, or what ever. But she was kind enough to look up the right number on the internet and gave it to me. Good, now we're on the right track right? Nope, not so fast.
Called the number - no answer. Darn. I was starting to think I was going to have to "wilt" at my own kitchen table! So, another person I did know the last name of was our president of the guild. So I called 411 AGAIN, and tried her. No answer.
Now my cell phone bill was getting about as high as my blood pressure at this point. So, I started home. At a red light, I thought, I'll just try Mrs. VMS again. (Yes I know it's illegal to be on the cell while driving - but technically, I was stopped - until the light changed.)
BINGO ! Her husband answered the phone and quickly got the lady of the house on the line.
She just laughed. It was pretty funny, in hindsight. She gave me the directions to the Inn and wished me a good time. So, I got there just before 10:00 am. A little worse for wear, but I got there. Next time, I'll know where to go, unless they change it. They better not!!
Boy, was I feeling blonde by now.
Near the end of the day, we could hear the festivities for the two weddings that were being held at the Inn. Sounded like a good time. Then one of the guests arrived at our door with his 10 yr old daughter, explaining that she was having a wardrobe malfunction, and could anyone fix her dress? Imagine the chances of having a room full of sewing ladies at the same Inn where you tore your dress at a wedding! I called her over, and in about 10 minutes had her on her way. Her Daddy was very grateful, and I don't think the young lady is going to forget THAT wedding!
So, here's a few pics of our day.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quilt 'til you Wilt

I'm getting ready. I'm shipping DS off to grandma's friday night for the weekend. Then early saturday morning I'll be loading the van and off to St. George's Presbyterian Church for the annual "Quilt 'til you Wilt" day hosted by the London Friendship Quilters Guild. We're right across from a Fabricland too, so that will be handy if any supplies are needed.
So, I've got my list made. I'm bringing two projects to work on, one is a double size quilt top for a client, the other is a second bargello "Ribbons in motion" because I had enough fabric to do two. I'm also going to bring a Christmas wall hanging that I'm working on 'just in case I have time.'
Yeah, ok, I'm dreaming that I'll get to the wall hanging, but I figure it's better to be prepared than to run out of stuff to do.
I'm still debating on which machine to bring. I'd love to bring the Horizon, but she's pretty heavy. My smaller Janome travels better, but, there's a little girl inside me who wants to show off my new toy.
I've got my list made so I don't forget anything and have started packing all the little items in my tote for the day - my toolbox. Seriously, it's my toolbox, I just dumped out the drill bits, and screws, and screwdrivers etc into a box and I'm loading it up with thread, stitch rippers. rotary cutter with extra blade, etc.
Now, if I could just FIND the little glue bottle tips I bought at Micheal's on Wednesday. They seem to have disappeared. I might have to check out the dog crate or the cat's bed in case they are the guilty thieves!
I'll post next week about what got accomplished Saturday.
For now, I'm hoping the predicted snow shows up tomorrow, or I'll have one disappointed kid on my hands.
"Mom, I sure wish it would snow."
"Yes dear, it shall come to pass. I just don't know exactly on which day."
"Oh, but I really, really, want it to snow, Mom."
When it finally does snow, I don't want to hear that it's too cold to go outside!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Revised pattern for "Marilyn"

So, I sewed all day today. More accurately, I made pattern pieces all morning, and sewed all afternoon. I figured if I'm going to make more than 1 Marilyn bag, I really should put a pattern together so I don't have to "figure" it out every time.
I made a few important changes. I made a rectangular bottom piece and used side panels on the bag. This was because the front pocket with the pleats needed a bit of reining in at the sides, and especially on the bottom. Having a center seam on the bottom meant that the front pocket extended all the way to the center seam - so, when I put my pens and keys in there, down to the farthest bottom they went - that meant "under" the main part of the bag. By using a bottom panel the base of the pocket is secured, and I'll be able to find my keys again.
I added a velcro closure to the front pocket, mainly because I thought I had a magnetic one in my stash, but I didn't, or it was hiding, so velcro it was.
I love the fabric on this one. It's just so rich and luscious. The pleats really don't show that well on the picture.
I took a TON of pictures so I have a tutorial in the making.
Not sure if I'll post it or keep it for my own reference.....hmmm.
So, here she is!