Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Free Motion Quilting (1)...and the Ukulele...

The two topics are closely related. Both are my new main interests. Yes, they seem disparate. No, they aren't able to be done at the same time. Yet. But I have hopes. :) The Vermont Quilt Festival rolled around again the last week of June,
and as usual I was all excited and looking forward to it with the highest of expectations. It is the one really big event I ever go to, and I love love love it. This year, as a leap into adventure, I chose to register in advance, get the name badge (the prestige don'tcha know) and register for a class. It was worth every penny. I loved getting in without hassle, getting the free tote and book and all that stuff. The class - well, that topped it all off I must say. Sue Nickels is just about the nicest and sharpest lady ever to learn from (AND she has a DVD for sale on her website). She is organized, friendly, knowledgeable and ready to answer questions All this while sticking to her organized syllabus. That isn't easy to do so gracefully as Sue does it. For once, I was good. I listened, I tried everything and strove to really try hard to learn the free motion and straight line quilting. As a very beginner, I had only a tiny bit of experience with free motion before I knew there were rules. I had done a few sets of placemats and I know I like to free motion, but I had no idea of the intricacies I should have known about. Now I have my Pfaff set up for quilting at all times. It is the go-to machine for quilting because it makes the best stitch possible, top and bottom - you cannot tell the difference. The machine we had for class was a Bernina - there was a room full of various models. The one I got was a new B380. Beautiful machine cosmetically and mechanically. Computerized machine with lots of very nice stitches and it too makes a wonderful straight stitch. We learned so many good tips I cannot begin to enumerate them. Sue also has a book out, which I have, and which she signed. Oh to be a quilt celeb! :) So I came home and now I get in some practice, but I have a set of place mats to get done, and then I intend to finally quilt the flying geese quilt I made over the period 1993-2008, but never actually made into a quilt. I am not fast with my sewing projects. There are also a few other quilt tops around the house that need me to make them whole. And of course I will be making a pattern and trying my hand at a nice quilted Ukulele bag. What else would reasonably be next? Here's the story on the ukulele. A friend at work plays, and she brought in her two ukes, and also showed us bits from the film, The Mighty Uke. It is a contagion. We all had the biggest smiles, and right away two or three of us ordered ukuleles from music sites on the web; entry level but decent instruments, and mine showed up with a case and a pitch pipe. I had also ordered plenty of music and instructional materials from AMAZON of course, so here I am with two new interests to add to my already plenty dilettantish life. Keeps the mind from rotting out. I have been practicing the uke since she came on Monday. An hour at least a day. Since I already read music, having been a trumpet player for years and piano as well, and then dabbling in the guitar years back, well, it is a heck of a lot of fun. Getting the hands to move when I need them to and play nicely - well, that will come. I do not hope to reach the virtuoso level of Jake Shimabukuro or even come near, just play for fun. It would be nice to be halfway decent at it. And I have to agree with Jake, "If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place!"

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Multisnit pants and Burda pants done...after long last...

I finally finished the pants. WOW. It seems that for me there is a huge gap in time between cutting and sewing, and then between sewing and hemming! I have lots of projects and the way I tend to flit from one to another is part of the reason for the time gap. I have come to allow myself to be this way, though! Multisnit pants here from pattern number 8.3, with a nice range of large sizes - all too large for me except the smallest, and a nicely done pattern. I ordered this pattern from Fjolner in Denmark, and I really love the site I ordered from. There are so many lovely fabrics there, as well as interesting notions! However, even though they deduct the VAT from US orders, it is very expensive to buy and ship from there. But I will do it again I think. Here is the Burda pant and the pattern illustration as well. Finally got the two pair of pants hemmed and reviewed on PR. Bot the Burda 8264 and the Multisnit 8.3 are nicely drafted European patterns whose fit is a nicer fit than the usual Big 4 pattern companies. I used a green all cotton luxuriously made double knit for the Burda and a nice soft medium bottom weight cotton twill for the Multisnit. I like both pair and will probably tweak them a bit next time for a bit smaller through the legs.