Friday, March 29, 2013

A break in the sewing action

I have a few projects to share with you before I give my sewing machine a well deserved break.  First, the Scrappy Trip Around the World is finished.

This started out as an excuse to use up some scraps but now I really, really love this one.  So much so, I am giving it away.  To a very, very special couple as a celebration of their marriage gift.

Next, in case you didn't see this post, I have to share this guy again....

And I have been thinking about making a pouch to hold my hand sewing goodies.

OK, perhaps obvious fabric choices..guilty.  Love this pattern from Noodlehead.

Meanwhile, at the sewing machine is the sea glass quilt...after five hours and five bobbins of thread, only about 25% through!

I think Helga, my Husqvarna Viking, deserves a vacation!  Therefore, I am heading out to San Jose, California on Monday to cheer on my niece Sarah and her ice hockey team as they compete in the National Championship!  So exciting!

So, my little blog will be quiet for a week or so.  Rest assured I will still be reading as many of your  blog posts as I can between ice hockey games!  AND I did find a quilt store or two in the San Jose area that I will definitely be checking out!  It also seems that there is a Textile and Quilt Museum in San Jose that will be on the itinerary!  Have a great week!

Linking up with crazy mom and her Finish It Up Friday party!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Quilting Check List

It has started...
the queen size quilt is under the needle.
Careful attention to setting up for free motion quilting:
  • Move the whole operation to the dining room table for added space
  • Line up the extension to the extension table (blogged about here)
  • Set up the machine for quilting
  • Quilting gloves and Supreme Slider in place
  • Four bobbins threaded
  • Table for scissors, pin box and other key supplies
  • Refreshments
OK ready to go!

Linking up with Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, March 24, 2013

What a hoot!

This has been sitting on my sewing table for a week or so waiting to be gifted to my super special niece/goddaughter for her 16th birthday!
He just makes me laugh!  The pattern is Funky Little Owl Bag by Pattern Play Designs that can be purchased via Craftsy.  Really, a brown and lime green owl!  And what project isn't just a little better by adding some Flea Market Fancy to it?

Aren't the feet cute?

I love you Melissa!  Happy #16!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Sewing Machine

I thought I would take advantage of this blog hop to share with you my sewing machine history (as you sewists know, this is a very personal and important part of our craft!!):

The Tilted Quilt

My first sewing machine:
I love my husband's antique piano stool beside the antique sewing machine.

A few years ago my husband had the cabinet restored and it is now a decorative piece in our living room.   This lovely lady sewed for me for years.  Some of you might remember the elastic waist half slips?  (I know, I am OLD but not as old as this machine!!)  That was my very first project in Home Ec class.  (OK, maybe I am THAT old!).

During high school my parents bought me my first new machine.  The best gift ever.  A Sears Kenmore beauty very similar to this one (picture borrowed from this post): 
image of a vintage sewing machine
I put many, many miles on this machine through high school and college sewing up clothes for myself, my sister, for friends, neighbors, and anyone else who asked!  Think double knit polyester, cotton shells, and pantsuits.  Oh boy.

As a senior in college this amazing machine came into my life.  She has been by my side for 35 years.
The Athena 2000!  Very high tech, leading edge for the 1970's!  This machine owes me nothing.  It has all those fancy stitches, an amazing button hole maker and is it ever solid!  And low maintenance!  Compared to the high tech wonder I am now sewing on, she never gave me any problems and I literally went years between service.  

So last year I returned to sewing (via quilting) after a few light years of not doing much and decided to treat myself (actually a Valentine's Day gift idea by my that guy) to a new machine.  Welcome Helga:
She is a Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 867 Q.  Overall, I love this machine, but it has not been without some drama in our relationship.  To begin with, the things I love about this machine:

  • Many features that making piecing and quilting quilts so much easier:  needle up/down, stop/start button, scissors, lots of quilting friendly feet attachments, SPEED.  
  • Worthy of mentioning alone and really the deciding feature when I purchased this one is the large harp space.  
  • This is hard to explain, the needle up function (and the foot control) allows you to partially lift the pressure foot up just a little to adjust fabric placement.
  • Loads of stitches...more than I will ever use!
  • She sails over depths of fabric like I have never seen before.  Think hemming denim pants and going over the side problem!
  • And isn't she just pretty to look at?

On the negative side, I have had some problems with the upper tension.  Fortunately, I purchased the machine from a shop with an in-house service person and although it has taken a few visits to get this fixed, the folks have been very good there and I am optimistic that this issue is behind us.  She also makes rattly noises in the bobbin case that seem to mysteriously come and go but as they do not impact the quality of the stitch I have learned to ignore these noises.

FMQ'ing with Helga has been an adventure that I attribute more to my learning how to free motion quilt than the machine.  It has been trial and error...foot to use, needle, thread, machine speed, etc.  But we are making good progress.

(As an aside, I purchased a 1/4" foot for the Athena, thinking it would be a nice backup quilting machine.  Only to find that the poor thing is not able to sew a straight stitch!   I just had her tuned up last year before I bought the Viking but I plan to bring her into the Singer service guy one more time to see if she can be repaired.)

The blog post author has asked what our dream machine would be.  Good question.  I have to say when Helga was acting up, I did look at the Berninas.  I have read so many wonderful things about these machines and am particularly tempted by the stitch regulator.  But for the additional money and the smaller harp space, I decided not to make the switch.  And then there is the temptation of a longarm?  One of those 16" harp quilting only machines?  If only I had more space...

Thanks for letting me share my personal sewing machine journey!  I know you all have one too, short or long, full of memories of all the special projects you've created with the help of your sewing machine(s).

Pretend this is Friday...

I think if I type fast I can get this post done and linked up with crazy mom quilts finish it up Friday linky party!  OK so here goes...

You might remember I made this table runner for my sister's new kitchen.  We all liked it but when I put it on her table, well the colors just weren't right and it was too long.  The colors in the new kitchen are definitely more warm than cool.  Plan B:

The Scrappy Trip quilt is rapidly becoming one of my favorite (how did this happen out of an excuse to use up scraps???).  I am pleased with the simple diagonal line quilting and I love the soft cotton on the back.  Time to hand baste down the binding.  A perfect activity for this winter spring day here in New England.

And I have to share with you the last of my shopping from last week!  In addition to all these bargains, I took advantage of Keepsake Quilting's 20% off everything in the store sale on National Quilting Day (who knew?  but I'll take it as an excuse for a sale!).
Have a wonderful weekend!  And do come back on Sunday night, I have something to show you that you will definitely get a hoot out of!

PS  All my family and friends who are Big Bang Theory fans, be sure to skip over to Crazy Mom Quilts won't want to miss her latest project!  Sheldon is jealous.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Trying New Things

I have been working on quilt backs and quilting some larger quilts this week.  I am a Craftsy fan.  As a relatively new quilter, I am eager to learn and I find the Craftsy platform easy to use, informative and accessible.   For example, the free class, taught by Elizabeth Hartman, Creative Quilt Backs had some very useful ideas.
This backing fabric is Four Seasons by Kumiko Sudo, gorgeous soft fabric.  As it is a directional print, I did not want to piece it horizontally across the back, a long vertical seam would be better.  The instructions for matching the pattern from the Craftsy class worked pretty well.

For the sea glass queen size quilt, I made a pieced back using extra blocks.  Something I have done before, but after this class, perhaps with a little more intention (and less by accident!).  I hope this quilts up well.

I also used Elizabeth's suggestion for cutting out the batting 2" wider than the quilt top, rolling up the batting and quilt top together and then cutting the backing 2" wider than the batting.

...or approximately 2 inches.  Worked quite nicely.

I decided to quilt this one with diagonal lines.  To increase the odds of straight lines, I marked the quilt with a hera marker as suggested by Nicole at Mama Love Quilts.
This marking took a bit of time (particularly as I had already pin basted the quilt) but I found the  quilt lines to be overall straighter than when I tried to just eye the lines.

Next, I was complaining to my husband about how the big quilts still catch on the edge of the extension table.  Surprised he was still listening to my quilting chatter, I was thrilled when he suggested we extend the extension table!

A quick trip to Home Depot later, we had built this little stacked "extender" (2 feet by 2 feet) just the right height to add on to the left of the extension table.  And it really worked great!  One less source of stress on the quilt!  Yeah!

The quilting continues!  Have a great day!  Linking up with:

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, March 15, 2013

Another Scrappy Trip Finish

I hope you are all not too overloaded with this fun pattern:
 The low volume square in the center of the block worked out fine!
 A little color on a dreary day is appreciated.
 The fabric is mostly scraps from the 2012 Block of the Month quilt.
I love the texture all those little squares give this quilt.  Now, how to quilt?  Suggestions?

Linking up with Crazy Mom's Finish It Up Friday!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A different kind of Wednesday WIP

Welcome to those visiting via Freshly Pieced WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

As a precursor to finished quilts, one must have fabric.
Kona Ash and White.  Basics.
Ingredients for pillows for the master bedroom to accompany the new quilt.  Yes, I agree, the green is not the right color.  Oops.
Yellow and grey combinations....not tired of this yet.
I thought I was buying wolf fabric....until I read the selvage...Fox in Sox.  Oops again.  But still really fun.
Backing and binding for a very special quilt.
Owl be talking more about this soon.

The above fabric purchases are a result of coupons and sales at Joann Fabric, the fabric outlet at Keepsake Quilting in Center Harbor, NH and the March Madness sale at Fabric Corner in Arlington, MA.   My mother would be quite pleased with this bargain shopping!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Snowy Friday Finish

Another snow storm, another day for sewing!  The queen size quilt top is completed.  I do love the colors (even if the inside picture does not do it justice); Renee said it reminded her of that!
I promise better pictures!  Again, the pattern is Garden Trellis from Fresh Lemon Quilts.  Next steps:  need to make an interesting backing and decide on game plan for quilting.

My sister just renovated her kitchen, so of course she needed a new table runner and coasters:

I had so much fun quilting this little table runner!  The table runner pattern is from Little Charmers II by Heather Mulder Peterson using charm squares.  You may recall this pattern from this wine themed table runner.

Before the blizzard arrived yesterday, I made an emergency trip to my LQS and picked up some nice additions to the fabric collection:
 I'm not typically attracted to the "cute" fabric, but this collection was just calling me.
And I love the color combinations in this collection and all the lovely baby size quilts that people have been making with this!

A lovely end to a lovely day:

Linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday!
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