Friday, November 29, 2013

Priscilla's Quilt - Quilt-In-A-Weekend style.

These fabrics are so hard to photograph! The green looks too lime here, but not lime enough below! Also, shadows... Chicago fall/winter is the worst for photos!

So life keeps moving forward. People are always having babies. This time I'm pretty ok with it. My cousin Jordan's girlfriend is pregnant - and due right after Christmas. The baby is a girl, and she will be named Priscilla. I got it into my head that I'd make her a quick little quilt. 

I pulled the fabrics from my stash - based on the colors they have picked out for the nursery, green, teal, and orange. I think the colors are just great! 

This is Priscilla's room - thanks to Facebook it's easy to keep in touch!

I went straight to my pinterest boards for some quick inspiration -- knowing I wanted to do the wonky cross block - very minimal but lots of fun color. I pieced the wonky cross section in about an hour or so - on my day off, while Allie was at school. It took one stop at the quilt shop for some lime green linen (they were out of Kona Grass green), then it was finished in no time! I love quick little quilts like this. 

There are prayers and my signature tucked under the binding. Wrapped in love!

My dimensions were based on the package of crib quilt batting I had on hand. Finishing at about 40" x 40"

I sure hope Priscilla enjoys it - but first I'll need to mail it out to them. Sometimes it's hard living two states away!  

I actually remembered to use one of my quilt labels! I used Wonder Under to fuse it onto the back and stitched around the sides.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A finished quilt, but it's not mine!

Last weekend I quilted a charity quilt for our Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. We were collecting full size quilts (BIG) for a local group called Teen Living. Teen Living provides necessities (apartment type necessities) for teens who are aging out of the foster care system, and will be moving out on their own for the first time. Amazingly our guild managed to make 23 full size quilts!

We were encouraged to work in small groups for this project, so I joined up with Emily. She pieced it and I quilted and bound it! (she even made the binding - how speedy is that?!). 

I quilted it with a basic stipple, and for whatever reason my Juki seemed to be skipping a stitch every once and a while - I'm hoping that it has something to do with the fact that the quilt was made using vintage linens... but I might take the machine in to have it looked at just in case. I would hate to think that I might have knocked the timing off or something! 

It was really great to see all our guild's charity quilts - and they were very well received by the Teen Living staff. I hope to have a blog post up soon on the Chicago MQG blog which will include some pictures of the other quilts. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I almost can't believe it!!! I'm going to Camp Stitchalot!

That's right! It seems like Christmas is coming a bit early for me this year! After talking about it a bit, Wally surprised me by putting the payment through last week! Eeek! :) He was so cute too - he showed me the image on his phone saying, "look at this text message I just got." The screen showed the paypal "payment sent" screen! How cute!

Now back to the retreat! Do you all know about Camp Stitchalot? It's a retreat out in Michigan hosted by Rossie and Brenda / Pink Castle Fabrics -- it's set up like camp - we share rooms (eek!) and have camp counselors (Jeni Baker, Anna Graham, &, Debbie Grifka), who will teach classes - we set up our machines and cozy it up. Sewing all weekend at a bed & breakfast? Yes!!

I think I'm gonna need to take a closer look at the supplies needed for the Noodlehead 241 tote! Imagine! :)

How about you? Anyone out there going to Camp Stitchalot too? Or are do you go on other retreats? I love the idea of spreading out my stuff and sewing with a bunch of other fabric lovers! :) 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Big City Bags - book tour!

"From Big-City Bags by Sara Lawson, Martingale, 2013; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved." 

I'm here today to tell you about how fabulous Sara Lawson's new book is! Don't get me wrong the whole point of a book release blog hop is to get the word out there, but believe me when I tell you this book is amazing!!!

My Meringue Clutch! It's actually photographed in the book! "From Big-City Bags by Sara Lawson, Martingale, 2013; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved." 

I can't express how excited I was to be asked to pattern test for Sara's book. She gave us the chance to pick what pattern and what fabric we wanted to use - we gave her our top 5 - and let me say, I would have happily made any of these bags! 

The bag that I made is the Meringue Clutch. It's perfect for day or night and I just love the texture of the gathers across the front! The clutch measures about 8.5" x 11", and it will easily hold your essentials. The instructions for this bag (and for all of Sara's bags) are impeccable - very user friendly with great tips and illustrations throughout. I would consider this to be a good project for the confident beginner - intermediate sewer. Do not fear the interfacing. Interfacing is our friend!

Speaking of interfacing, Big City Bags has an entire section in the front of the book where Sara shares her expertise about the various types and uses of interfacing. I expect that I'll be referencing this section often when I go to buy interfacing!! 

Sara's Meringue Clutch "From Big-City Bags by Sara Lawson, Martingale, 2013; used by permission. Photo by Brent Kane. All rights reserved." 

I'm going to add a side note here. I work at a used bookstore (where I run the arts and crafts section), I've seen a lot of mediocre bag sewing books - full of hideous dumpy looking bags, Big City Bags is the exact opposite of those books - full of beautiful patterns, all the bag-making info you need, and packed with beautiful pictures! Sara's book is the only purse-making book that you'll find on my bookshelf! 

So now that I've told you what I think, it's time for you to take a look for yourself. You can order a signed copy of "Big City Bags" here

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I'm on Quilty!!

Remember way back in June when I mentioned taping for Quilty? Well the first of my two videos is up on the QNNTV site! Go check it out and learn how to make some pockets for your gift cards!

By the way - how cool is it to see my quilt in the background - hanging on the Quilty set??!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Demo at the Chicago MQG

I was lucky enough to demo at the last Chicago MQG meeting. It was nice to have the chance to think about how and why I do what I do when I free motion quilt. I made an outline in preparation for the meeting - so why not share it here too? Here are my tips for FMQ.

lost your feed dog cover? make one out of template plastic or card stock!

  • Darning foot (cheap is ok, and feel free to alter yours with a rubber band)
  •  Feed dog cover  - if yours don’t drop using a switch, cover them with template plastic, mik carton plastic, or card stock. Tape the cover in place using masking tape. Store bought covers work too but be aware of them if they move.
  • Quilting gloves (I use Fons and Porter)
  • Extension table – super helpful, but ultimately not necessary.
  • Supreme Slider – I don’t use this but would love to!
  • Extra tables / ironing board – don’t let your quilt hang onto the ground!

How to:
  • Start with a well basted quilt.
  • Roll your quilt with two vertical rolls toward the middle. Pin into place with safety pins if necessary.
  • Use grippy gloves.
  • Hold on to the rolls or over/under position – find what’s best for you.
  • Stay within your “work triangle” – the area formed by the thumb and first fingers – always be aware of where the needle is in relation to your hands! Keep that “work triangle” flat with no puckers.
  • Watch the needle and the area that is next to be quilted – don’t just watch your stitching or you’ll lose sight of were on the quilt you are!
  •  Foot fast, hands slow! Play around with balance between the speed of your foot petal and the speed of your hands. (If you’re getting messy curves on the back of the quilt move your hands slower around curves).

Problem Solving

Thread breaks what should you do?

(if your stitches were normal while quilting previously)
  • Completely re-thread the top thread, then keep going.
If that doesn't fix it then:
  • Re-thread the bobbin thread.
If that doesn't fix it:
  • Change your needle.
If that doesn't fix it:
  • Check to be sure that you’re not trying to sew over a particularly thick block intersection (sometimes this can cause your thread to shred). If you are then either quilt very close to the intersection without crossing over the bulk (avoid it!), or go slower over the intersection (even use your hand wheel to cross it).
If it’s not a bulky seam:
  • Change your needle size up one – and be sure you’re using the right needle for the fabric / thread. (see chart below)

Make every attempt to sort out tension issues before you’re working on your real quilt… google to find tips for your specific machine  and find tips to test how balanced your tension is. It’s best to know you’re starting at a basic good-stitch quality first! It’s easiest to know that your tension is good and to consider the other possible problems.

This is how I roll a quilt to get it all in the arm of the machine. Quilt pieced by Emily and Sally.

Resources: (I learned to FMQ by reading the internet – the following websites helped)
Amanda Jean (short video of FMQ stipples) 

Leah Day (tons of design inspiration!!!)
how to alter your darning foot 

My pinterestboard for FMQ (tons and tons of good inspiration, some tutorials, some just pictures) 

Thread size                  Needle size
50 wt                           75/11
40 wt                           80/12
30 wt                           90/14
Topstitch needles have larger eyes and are fine for quilting
If your thread is shredding move up a size needle!

The needle / thread chart is care of Ebony Love – who wrote it in my notebook when I couldn't seem to remember it!! I recommend taking a pic of the chart on your phone - then you can reference it when you're staring blankly at the notions wall wondering what needles you need!

There you have it. My tips. Nothing new, but served with the real encouragement - you CAN do this. FMQ is something you can do on your home machine. Keep trying and you'll get the hang of it!

Do you have any tips to add? Share them below! I'd love to hear from you!