Sunday, July 16, 2017

Shirt Quilt and Viking with Bonlux...fun in the sewing room...


Getting ready to start sewing the blocks of the Shirt Quilt 2017. All blocks cut, and it will be a 9 patch. Red patch in the middle of each 9 patch block.  I ordered the Dream Wool batting from Missouri Star, and it surely feels wonderful through the plastic, so I am looking forward to seeing how this quilts! The backing will be the busy print with the paisleys you see lying under the piles of blocks. Writing about it makes me feel inspired, so it could make me kick off the work this weekend!  In the meantime, it's been a mending sort of week - hemming pants. :) The Viking loves that job though, so it was a pleasure to set up the Viking again.
I added Bonlux lighting to the harp of the Viking when I set it up last weekend. WOW....what a difference.  And no lamps to get in the way when you are sewing! 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

It's Always Autumn Breezy Tee...


It's Always Autumn has some really nicely drafted free patterns, and the Breezy Tee caught my eye because she has a woven version. Her site is full of lovely versions of her free patterns...I highly recommend taking a look. :)   SO - I chose to make what I hoped would be a wearable muslin using a nice sort of batik-tie dyed sort of look table cloth in a cotton blend or all cotton (I really don't know) that a friend had given me a few years back for quilting. The colors are lovely and it has seahorses on it! Fabulous!  Pattern was easy to download, and easy to put together, and had 6 pieces. You can also download a sleeve extension pattern and I did that as well.  I bound the edges of the neckline with self binding and also did that treatment to the sleeve edges.  I forgot to read her directions for altering the sleeves, and she does have those....so my sleeves are more like cap sleeves now. Next time - and there WILL be a next time - I will do it right and make slightly longer sleeves.  I cut it just a tad wider on the side seams because I was doing the woven version, and I found the fit through the arms and shoulders was good except that I will need to make the shoulders less broad - I do have a shoulder template I work with for that.  One of these days I should do a post on the shoulder template. It was the project in a bodice fitting class taught by Shannon Gifford, a beloved teacher on Patternreview.com for many years before she passed away in 2010.  She was wonderful.
Picture here of the top - I did a fussy cut for a seahorse pocket. It doesn't scream out at you like I hoped it would though.  I really enjoyed this project. Turns out to be better than  wearable muslin actually. SO - I went and downloaded the Raglan Sleeve pattern from Always Autumn as well and will be making a long sleeved heavier cotton knit garment for Fall and winter out of some nice heavy double cotton knit I have already got. It is the last of my garment stash.

Here is the link for the Raglan Sleeve!

 A word on sizing. Her patterns are all one size - L for large. However, I think they are very adaptable for several variant sizes.  Easy to alter because the patterns are excellently drafted. If you have a measuring tape and some idea of ease to add, you will be be to grade this well. Plus - the fit can be easy with lots of ease or more fitted. I did lots of ease here because I wanted to see how the basic pattern + about an inch or so on the sides until I hit the armhole level would work.  In a knit you wouldn't need the extra inch or so at all, and it still wouldn't be uber-tight. :)  

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fun at the Vermont Quilt Festival 2017


Another year rolled on, June came and with it the annual Vermont Quilt Festival. Despite early problems with new website, lengthy delay in getting out information and brochures, and classes cancelled, the actual show itself went on absolutely magnificently. We attended for two days, and had a very very good time. This year the entry was marked by a bracelet that was color coded as to your purchase of a day pass, 2 day pass or 3 day pass. Excellent idea because there was no barrier this year between the food vendors and the outside so one could walk around a lot more when taking a break. The food vendors were located nicely and there was more space to sit under covered tables. All good.  As for the quilts - there were excellent special exhibits and wonderful entries by very talented people.  Vendors were there and as usual I made the rounds of the sewing machine vendors, talking and comparing. Being not in the market myself, it is even more fun to see all the new machines, plus see the really good machines that have been out awhile coming back.  One of our favorite dealers, Bittersweet Fabric, was there with all the Elnas and Janomes, and that is one great bunch of people to visit every year.  Some of the quilts....first the Best in Show up above this on the left....just a lovely piece of work. I was not able to get all the details on these quilts, and the people who made them are so very talented. I wish I could name each one, but I haven't the information at hand.
When taking photos of the quilts, there is no way to do them justice. They are so much nicer looking in person and you can see the textures and the quilting very close up. My photos are nothing compared to the quilts themselves. 
I wanted to post a few pictures of representative types, as in traditional, modern and whimsical. :)
This quilt above was in honor of Canada's 150th Anniversary this year!
This above is just a part of a larger modern quilt, and the quilting and composition are just beautiful.
Here is a lovely little whimsy quilted by a young entrant. All these youngsters get a sewing machine from Bittersweet fabrics just for completing the quilt they enter.  A nice way to increase the ranks of quilters!
Here is where we see the happy faces of the participants! This marks the eighth year at least that my friend and I have attended this show together, and some years other friends join us - all in all it is a highlight of our year.

 And what would the show be if not for the acquisitions from the vendors who come from far and near to demo their wares and sell us the things we need and some we probably don't need but can use for even more fun!



Wednesday, June 14, 2017

32 Piece Foot Set for Low Shank Machines Part 2

Tried all on the Brother SE400.  They fit excellently. Better than on the Audrey and I don't know why. The Brother is a solid and really well made machine and it's almost like these feet were made for it.  A few, as in the case of the Audrey, are too narrow, but the placement is centered and the needle clears the needle area fine. As in all stitching situations, you MUST be aware of the settings for each task or foot and set the needle position accordingly.
Yes, I rehomed the feet into a smaller plastic box.  This is the Janome-Elna accessories box, out of which my Elna 720 has grown.  The Elna required the larger ArtBin box even than the one I had these feet in originally.  I photocopied the feet sheet and taped a small printout version to the top of this small box. Needless to say, the Audrey feet I brought home fit my Brother so well that my feet did a nice tappity happy dance!!

All in all I am happy with these feet....the next agenda item is trying them on a Janome.

Monday, June 12, 2017

32 Piece Foot Set for Low Shank Machines Part 1

After reading all sorts of posts about these generic foot sets on PatternReview.com, I decided to see for myself. For on outlay of about $20, I got this set from AMAZON.  Since most name brand feet will be an average of at least 10-20 dollars each, and many are very much more, I wanted to see if I could use a few of these on my Brother SE400.  I was on vacation at the time in another state, so decided to have AMAZON deliver them to me so I could check 'em out on my Babylock Audrey first.  The reason for this clever move was because if they fit the Audrey I was going to take home the four feet the Audrey has that I wanted for my Brother machine.  Babylock feet were rumored to fit brother machines.
To make a long story short, all the feet fit the Audrey.  Some caveats - some feet are very narrow, such as a couple of the hemmer feet. These do not cover the feed dogs but still might be fine as the needle clears the hole well.  The criteria I used to test out each and every foot on the machines I am testing them on are as follows:  1. Does the needle clear the needle hole?  2. Does the foot center properly on the feed dogs and hopefully sit correctly thereon?  3. Can I sew a lone of stitching without problems?   4. There are only three screw on feet in the set:  adjustable zipper foot, gathering foot and hopping springed FM/darning foot.  Do they fit well without needing force?    As you would any foot regularly, you must set your machine to stitch with that foot properly - as in center the needle for straight stitching with the straight stitch foot, zigzag with the fringing foot etc.  I tested them out and all sewed though on the Audrey some were a little teenie bit odd on the dogs. But nothing you couldn't use them with.   SO - indeed I took the four Audrey feet home and left generics in their place, plus I have the rest of the feet in case I need them.  If I had bought those four feet alone it would have cost me about 45-55 dollars easily for Brother or Babylock feet.  So I have the real Babylock feet for my Brother SE400 and the next post will be about how the set and Babylock feet fit that machine.  NOTE: I bought the ArtBin storage box for the feet - it didn't come with a plastic storage box.  Interesting point - there is no Zigzag foot in this set and no buttonhole foot at all. So if you need a regular ZZ sewing foot which is the default foot on most machines, you will not get it in this set. Likewise you will not get a buttonhole foot.