Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Moving in !

Today was the day.  The day I started moving in to my quilting studio.  First I made a trip around town looking for better light fixtures and ended up buying basic 2 bulb flourescent fixtures with daylight bulbs.   Then, taking risk in hand (ha ha) I installed them all by myself!  So now I've done some detailed measuring to help decide what goes where.   I've already decided I don't like the bookcase where I put it, so moving it will be the next feat.  Then I've got to get my frame up.  Everything else will be made to suit around that large !! piece.  No pics yet.  Soon,  soon...

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday Night Sew-In results

Well, it's 2 am and I'm calling it a night.  I managed to get my project done, and I'm tuckered out.
I'm making a quilt for a customer, and she asked about a bedskirt.  Being the daughter of a "slipcover queen", I said "sure",   So after some calculating, and some shopping, we came up with a plan.  For the base of the skirt, I used a fitted sheet.  In this case King size.  The quilt fabric was purchased 5 !!!!! years ago, so the chances of finding a compatible fabric for the bedskirt seemed to be a daunting task, but not so.  The first place I went to had this decorator fabric, the perfect green to match one of the greens in the quilt.  And it's very similar in texture too,  WIN!!
We went with a rather formal look, with pleats on the sides and corners.  Once I had the panels made, I sewed them onto the sides of the sheet right at the edge where it would meet the top of the box spring.  This would have been easier to pin into place if I had the right sized mattress to fit the sheet on.  Then I could just pin it along the top edge.  Instead, I pulled the corners tight (pinned one corner to the sofa and pulled the next corner.  Used my teeth for a third hand lol)  and marked the top edge on the sheet.
So, here are my 2 am photos.  I will not vouch for the quality :)

I had only one casualty.  My blind hemming foot.  It's the first time I've used one.  I learned to blind hem on my Mom's old Kenmore,  You had to do ironing and pinning gymnastics  before sewing.
I have to say, after blind hemming 9 yards, times two edges, plus ends,(about 20 yd total) I've decided that the blind hem foot is a keeper.
But, alas, I broke it.  I was trying to "help" it over one of the thick seams and pulled the fabric so hard that the needle came down on the little guide in the foot.  I tried to straighten it with my hemostats, but it really didn't work too well.  Then genius struck.  Duh, my other machine is also a Janome and should have the same foot!  Yes it was, so I tossed the broken one and carried on.  I was more careful after that.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

When this you see...

I recently bought this pattern from my LQS.  It's "When this you see.."  by The Rabbit Factory.  Usually I shy away from teeny tiny pieces, but for some reason this pattern appealed to me. So, deep breath, and dive in!
First I raided my stash.  I've got a ton of deep, rich colours, so I decided to go with them.  I did purchase the cream fabric - there are two different ones, but the same shade with an embossed tone on tone pattern.  I'll probably add more to add richer creams into the mix.
Considering that the pieces finish at 1" or even 3/4" (ahhh!), I'm surprised how quilckly the blocks are adding up.  I only need 180 or so.  So far, I have 30,..... or so.
The first 9 I sewed together, but I'm not sure they'll stay that way.  Once I hit a design wall, I may unlink them and "scatter the stars."

I'm thinking I like the look of the checkerboard blocks to be scrappy, with the star blocks all the same to tie it all together.
The pattern calls for appliqued swags around a plain cream coloured border, but, there's lots of time to change that..
If you see me walking down the street looking cross-eyed --- just keep on walkin'
So, what are you working on?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sad, the trees are dying

I knew it was coming but was in denial.  I live in a section of town that was developed about 20 years ago.  When I moved into my house, the street wasn't even paved yet.  A few years later, the city planted trees along the street.  In front of my house, they planted an ash tree.  Many of the trees along the street are ash trees.  There are some maple, oak, linden etc, but you can really see from a distance which ones are ash trees.  You see, they're the trees that are dead or dying.
We are in an area that is infested with the Emerald Ash Borer.  This nasty beetle bores into the bark of ash trees and lays its eggs.  The larvae that hatch eat the layer just under the bark, killing the tree.  The bark just peels back like cheap paint and you see all the little trails left by the larvae.
I'm sad.  I've nurtured this tree, watered it, fertilized it and watched it grow.  First it was about 8' high and blocked the view of my neighbour's front door.  Then it blocked the roof of the awning over the front door.  Then it blocked the upstairs window, then the roof and finally it grew tall enough that it didn't block the house anymore.  When the city crew came by last year to prune the daylights out of the tree, I cried.  The beautiful crown of the tree was chopped back.  I couldn't see the sickness in the tree, but I guess they did.  So, now the beautiful tree is half dead, and probably will be completely gone by the end of the summer.
If you haven't been hit by the Ash Borer in your area of SW Ontario yet, be vigilant.  Make sure there is no transfer of wood from an infested area to a non-infested area.  All the provincial parks are posted that you can't bring wood into the park.  This scourge has been coming for years, and many, including me, just didn't "get" it.  Now it's too late.
If you're planting - plant anything other than Ash trees.  Maybe we can starve this bug out of existence.  It's dream, but just maybe...
In the meantime, now I hope they come cut it down soon.  I'd like to get a new tree planted as soon as possible so I can have the pleasure of watching it grow big enough to clear the neighbour's house once again.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Video

What's with blogger??  I posted my new tutorial on binding a quilt, how to miter corners and how to join the beginning and end with a bias seam.  Somewhere between filming and downloading to my computer and uploading it to blogger, it acquired an annoying yellow band across the bottom of the screen in 2 of 3 videos.  Sigh.
Anyway, here's the linkys.

This is mostly about how to connect the ends of your binding in a perfect seam.  The magic trick works for any width of double fold binding.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Leather? Not so much

A client asked me to make a bag out of leather.  He supplied the leather.  The front and back panels were stiff leather and the front had a photo of his nephews on it.  The remainder of the bag was made of supple leather that felt like butter.
The good news is I did complete the bag.
The bad news is I found out that I'm not happy sewing on leather.  Even with using wash away stabilizer on the top and bottom (it did make it feed better), the stitch quality was not good.  My machine doesn't like sewing leather either.  I tried using the walking foot but the space around the needle was too big and allowed the leather to pull upwards with the needle and wouldn't make a stitch when that happened.  I ended up sewing the whole thing with my zipper foot as it's the one that has the smallest clearance around the needle.
Once I had it done, lined and everything, I wasn't happy with the zipper.  I'd made it too short so opening the bag was cramped.  The opening was about 2" shorter than the bag on each side.  So, I took it out and made another top panel with a longer zipper.  Now I'm satisfied.
Another problem I had was, when I taped the stabilizer in place on the back panel - no problem taking it off.  When I took the tape off the front panel - where the photo was - it pulled a chunk of the finish off.  My client says it's not a problem and he can refinish it easily.  Add to this that the clearance around the needle on my Horizon is not meant for bag work when  it's not made of scrunchable fabric.  The upper feed dogs for the walking foot fold up and back, but were definitely in the way when trying to manoeuvre the bag in the tight spots.  We just won't discuss how many expensive leather needles I went through.
So, the long and the short of it is- I'm sticking to fabric.