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!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Place Mats Reversible...

This week I am trying to finish the place mats I started a few months ago. I am using bias tape and really am sorry I didn't make my own binding. They are not going to have perfect corners. Cough. I won't be putting pics of the corners here. Meanwhile though they are going to be O.K., and I want to use them in two weeks. These are the combo Birthday/Patriotic Holiday place mats. With these, I think my topical place mat making might be over! I cut these with my trusty brown paper pattern I made years back, I used fabric I bought at Joann's of course. Batting is Warm and Natural and I was able to whiz through free motioning them on my Elna 720! YEA! I used Metrosene thread bottom and top, and just the regular hopping quilting foot even though I have bought the high shank free motion quilting set.  I bought three packages of wright's quilt binding because I thought that would work and be faster than making my own, but I see now that mine would have been better fabric and less stiff. Live and Learn. It has been years since I used bias tape and then it was to edge curtain valances. Worked nicely for that. Also used the Acufeed foot for stitching on the binding - it is pretty wide, but does a good job at feeding the fabric evenly. :) Interesting point about this machine is that it has a differential feed dial like a serger, and that is meant to be used with the Acufeed feet. I have not used that feature yet, but it is pretty exciting!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Sewing on Vacation...

Have been away on a visit to the Great Pacific Northwest.  While there I have been using the little Babylock Audrey again, and have made over a dozen scrappy blocks. A lot of fun...this quilt may take time! The 15 Minutes of Play isn't as easy as it sounds, but it is challenging and fun to do. It certainly is not fast. You hold your head on one side and try to visualize what you can get out of various slashes in the fabric you just put together, and then cut and put in strips and then see what else you can do. It is a good exercise for the brain. Although I have thought of sewing up a few tops, I have not done so, and intend to work on this quilt and plan a setting for the eventual blocks for it. Is RED too much as alternate blocks?  I could use a black print with a very subtle pattern, or red, or just make blocks until I have it all scrappy. there is a lot to think about! As usual I did make three pair of casual jammie pants for wear around the house for my two grands and their Mom. That was a fun sew - that Simplicity pattern is becoming second nature to me at this point. The fact that it has only the one seam in the leg is really what puts these on a fast track. I made them a bit roomy this time so that growth (which is fast at this age) can be accommodated for in these.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Elna eXcellence 720...

Devoting a post to my new Elna. I am so pleased to have been able to purchase this machine. This is the same chassis as my Janome MC6300 had (the machine has been re-homed to a very nice lady who will use it well) but has several really nice enhanced features. The stitch package is very very nice. The deco stitches stitch out so nicely and I love the display. As you tweak a stitch the display shows the tweaks. My Viking has this as well, and it is really a good feature. One feature that is better than my Viking Platinum 770 is the selection process for stitches. The Elna has ten direct selection stitches - one push of a button and you have it. To get any other stitches in the entire package you just push the MODE button one time and then enter the numerical codes for each stitch you want. You can repeat or vary the stitches and save in memory or stitch right out. No need to go through several steps as you  have to on my Viking. So alphabets are easy-peasy. And yes, it came with lots of feet and one Accufeed foot which is handy in place of having to have a walking foot. The manual is large and readable. Most of this machine is already easy for me because of my Janomes, and of course the 6300 had the same body.  This Elna seems to have a more throaty powerful sound to the motor, but that could be my imagination. I was able to attach the LED strip for my Ecolux system right unto this machine and still use the second light it has in the harp! So I have got terrific lighting on this machine for sure! The Ecolux lighting is not on in these pictures.  I even added one Hello Kitty sticker once I sold the Janome 6300. I felt then I had really claimed my Elna. First project is to keep on with my 15 Minutes of play quilt blocks. Next will come the handbag and after that...who knows.  I already know it can handle all my sewing needs.