Friday, September 18, 2015

15 Minutes of Play again with the Elna TOP 300...

  Here's the Elna TOP 300 again back in the table!  It is a fast machine!   I used it to piece the last piece of the 15 Minutes of Play  quilt self-made fabric I needed to cut the last ten blocks. I have a quarter inch foot I bought for the Mini Ultra and it was the only one that fits the Elna TOP 300. The regular Janome top loading foot and the vertical foot 1/4" feet both either don't fit at all or are wonky on the feed dogs. SO this one is a Distinctive brand foot that has a long blade. I bought it through AMAZON from Mr. Vac and Mrs. Sew and that is one terrific company to deal with. The silly blade just gets in the way, so I pulled it off! I was surprised that pulling it off worked really well. The machine feels great to sew on. The thing for me to remember is that it *IS* all mechanical and I need to raise the needle to the top after each seam. Otherwise the top thread whips out of the threading channel and I have to rethread. Oh how soon we forget! ;) Needle down is doable with your foot pedal as in any mechanical but takes some finesse and practice. I have cut out the darker background fabrics and am now ready to sew the blocks together to make the top. Time to shop batting and backing. Thinking poly high loft batting and some pretty backing fabric. When I piece I pretty much use up the partial bobbins I have and the thread I won't use for quilting. I used both So Fine #50 and cotton Coats machine quilting thread on the piecing. Going to use So Fine #50 for sewing it all together, as well as pre-wound So Fine #60 bobbins, and then I am still thinking over the quilting thread! I do know I am going to quilt this one with the walking foot. I am doing the Craftsy class on Creative Quilting With Your Walking Foot, so there should be some tips there I can use! And yes, I am putting Hello Kitty stickers judiciously on my machines...I love Hello Kitty.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Amy Butler Tent Dress...

So I had this fabric from Amy Butler. A bit heavier than quilting cottons, and probably best suited to a bag. However, I have a bunch of Vera Bradley bags and I am really not in need of a bag at any size. I decided to make a loose fitting tent dress because it has been really hot. Especially back in the end of July when I finally finished the dress.  I had all the pics resized and was going to do the blog entry when my Mac went down. Turned out to be a fried hard drive. I finally got it back with a new drive, but have not felt like blogging. BUT, this is the time! I want to get the dress up even though it makes me look upholstered! It is so comfy and the pattern is great. I did do some alterations on the pattern - I did the sleeve and the bodice alterations I usually do - made the sleeve larger and longer (should have made it a bit shorter) and used my bodice templates for the bodice alterations. also made both front and back higher. The pictures tell the story. I did the back like the front, so the front pic gives you the idea. In the end I have a comfy dress I really like. I intend to use this pattern for an "around the house" dress, maybe in a fleece for winter, and the pattern can also be used as a night wear pattern, made shorter as a swing dress, or with long sleeves.  This pattern has been in the New Look stable since 1995! There is good reason for that - it is popular and it is very easy - it is New Look 6352, and is called an EASY 1 HOUR pattern.  I doubt I'd say 1 hour, but maybe after you do your alterations, cut it out and so on, the 1 hour is for the sewing up. I did self binding on the neckline and just turned up the sleeves and hem twice and sewed them.  I do love self binding.  This was the last piece of fabric I had that could be considered garment fabric.

Now to get back to the quilt blocks. I have several more scrappy blocks to sew up, slice and resew, then to cut them and cut the darker background fabric that will fill in the nine patch blocks for the scrappy quilt.

Hoping that the last weeks of Summer into Fall are lovely where ever you are!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fun at the 2015 Vermont Quilt Festival

June 26th - June 27th - although an exhausting two days,  The Vermont Quilt Festival was, as usual, a scintillating feast for the senses. Between the vendors booths filling the two expo halls, and the class at Vermont Tech's Williston location, the weekend   was fast, fun-filled and fabulous.

I think it took my feet about 4 days just to become functional once again. I stayed within my set budget for shopping, and I was able to get some nice fabric, books and a few Janome goodies. I took a class in Zentangle from Pat Ferguson and that was a really nice relaxing experience. She is a kind and patient teacher, and I would recommend the class to anyone who wants a half day relaxing time just drawing! Here is our class composite Zentangle square collection laid out together! Amazing how compatible they were!

The quilts were many and lovely over all. I want to just put a representative few here to show the gamut of styles and workmanship - all so well crafted.  Other sites have done critiques, and I have none to offer except to say how much I appreciate seeing all the quilts and all the fine craftsmanship that goes into them.

The level of fabric art shown at the festival is a wonderful inspiration for anyone, and I would urge those who do not sew or quit to go and see the quilts as an art exhibit, for that is what it is.

The first picture is the work of Joe Cunningham, a master artist in fabric who had a show at the festival this year. I have already mentioned him on another blog post! Such an inspirational Craftsy Class he has and how I did enjoy it!

Pat Ferguson, teacher of the Zentangle class had a lovely quilt in the show as well. The colors were so lovely and the back is as nice as the front!
After hers I am posting an array! There were so many that the photos I chose to take were not going to give even half a picture of the colors and sizes and types, but here I go.

My very favorite of the entire show for workmanship, and for original design - the large quilt made of thousands of small hexi patches. Winner of the Best in Show outside the USA, it is a work of art by Grit Kovacs of Germany. Up close and far away, this is amazing.  Her website tells the tale of the creation of the quilt.  I just stood there looking at the tiny pieces of this. First - it is original, and second it is all hand pieced. Usually I am not a real fan of blue quilts, but this quilt won me over on sight. The pattern is almost Moroccan. I just love it. It well deserves the Governor's Award and the Best in Show from out of the USA award, and many more awards!

Pat Pauly of New York State had a lovely quilt on display. Pink Leaf 2 Quilt with large pink-red leaf....beautiful. and original and just a feast for the eyes. Several more pictures here show even more of an array of beauty. I end with pictures of the swag of 2015, and my Quiltie-Pal and I smiling over our favorite buys, even while exhausted after two days of intense Quiltiness!

Dragons! Loved this! All those Asian fabrics I have waiting, and inspiration around every corner!

Wonky blocks quilted so well and again - I loved it!

Somehow this is very Southwestern to me! Colors are fabulous.

A threesome of quilts in three styles!

And below - landscape quilting at its best - lovely colors and shades and values.

After the Show....looking forward to next year at VQF !

Friday, June 19, 2015

Placemats Finished...

Placemats again! Yes. I got them bound, and now the only project I have going is the 15 Minutes of Play blocks. I have to decide if I want solid fabric between the scrappy blocks or not. I guess time will tell.Meanwhile, another decision. Now that I have the pattern for the bag I thought I wanted to make, I really don't want to make a bag. Here's the reason - I have a plethora of bags. All the ones I love. Vera Bradley fabric with pockets inside. I can't imagine a handier bag than my Messenger for work or the others for whenever. I don't need another bag, and the time it would take me to make one would be better spent making something I either need or could need. Here though is the fabric. It's an Amy Butler fabric called Wood Fern out of her Nigella collection. Yes, a large print. But I wonder if a loose fitting wear-around-the-house maxi dress wouldn't be a fun item out of this? THAT is one thing I need because I really don't have any such garment. I am thinking this one over. I bought this fabric at least five years ago, so it's going to be a stash-buster to use it up!