Saturday, December 22, 2012

Pfaff Sews For Fun...Spa Was Wonderful...

In case you thought I had forgotten my Pfaff, no. I made a few small double-sided quilted fabric remnant cases of various sorts again this past week. One is a Bible cover for a very small Bible and one is a cosmetic case now. It was previously a too large small Bible cover! The fabric was a nice remnant at Joann's, and how I love those double-sided remnants. Once my daughter showed me how to sew zippers in for these cases, I really found I like to make them. With the variable needle positions the Pfaff is best for this as it will sew on the zipper with out me changing to the zipper foot - it has a nice more narrow feed and with IDT it is a cinch it will hold the line well. The Pfaff just got home a few weeks ago from an infrequent visit to the sewing tech for a nice spa treatment and adjustment. There were no issues, but after quilting a largish quilt I wanted her to be in tip top shape. It was a lot of work, and very probably a drain on one of her mature years. I know it was for me being also one of mature years. Making these small cases is a nice change from working on the two larger quilting projects. But they are soon going to be in the quilting stage as well.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Flannel Quilts Coming Together...

Wondering how long it would take me to get back to the blog, eh? Well, I have been working on two flannel quilts for two special little boys. I pieced all my remnants and left overs from several years of jammie-robe making, and came out with enough long strips calculated in 6" units to make two 72" long quilts about 45 or so inches wide. Looking at backing led me to 108" flannel backing at Joann's in which selection you don't have much color choice. I selected grayish marbled flannel which is on the warm side of gray, and Warm and Natural batting - one Queen Size batting will make two quilts this size, and everything is now ready for pinning and quilting. Another few weeks of nothing from me here while I get that work accomplished! Notice the good help I always have when working in the sewing room or out on the dining table. Pearl is a great supervisor, and a tremendous help. She keeps the mood good no matter what sort of sewing or quilting complications may arise! Before I pinned these, I consulted the good quilters at about the right-side-wrong-side thing with the batting. Seems the side you can see was pierced downward by needles is the right side, and where the needles came out of the batting and left little tufty things is the wrong side. So put the right side up toward the top and sewing it will be easier they say. I won't try to experiment, I will just do it that way. This will be the maiden voyage for the J6300 in the realm of FMQ. I used the walking foot to sew the strips together for the tops, and it was great - I set the machine on about the middle to a bit more speed, but never the top speed on the speed regulator and then used the pedal usually all the way. The machine sews so nicely and the tops went together speedily.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quilt Again...With Cat...

So this first picture isn't the quilt, but the cutest picture of a cat helping me sew. Pearl loves to help. Helps all she can. Here she is keeping the fabric nice and warm for me before I made the Ukulele Case. I count on all that help. I wanted to write a post about checking the links on my blog because today I checked them and had to take about 6 links down due to either missing blogs or blogs so out of date (over a year) as to be no longer active at all. Sorry to see these blogs go, and perhaps I may decide to do the same myself one of these months, you never know. So if you see that your blog is gone, and you didn't realize that there was problem in the linkage, let me know! So O.K., here is another photo of the quilt. THE QUILT, as in the first whole huge large quilt I ever made. As I have said in the past, it only took my about 19+ years to finish all the way. I am still amazed that a person can learn to free motion quilt and assemble a quilt all themselves and do it on a home sewing machine. And of course, once you do you are hooked. Absolutely hooked. So I am now cutting strips to make two slightly-larger-than-lap quilts out of all the flannel I have left from several years of jammie making. We'll see how these fabrics can work up into some sort of design overall. Keep your radios tuned to this station.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Flying Geese Quilt is done...

After nineteen years in the making, the flying geese are flown! I used a high loft poly batting and the backing is the 108" fabric from Joann's in blue paisley. The border on the two long sides is a white with navy tiny print and the binding is the reverse - a tiny white on dark navy. Those two fabrics were in my mother's fabric piles after she passed away, and I have had them as well as a few of her quilting cottons that were in smaller pieces. Some are in this quilt. So this is a work of tribute to my mother, who was a better quilter than I will ever be, but who didn't like the quilting part of it, whereas I love the free motion quilting. I have to say I liked applying the binding as well. It took many viewings of several videos on binding to get the full picture of appying the machine binding. I wanted to have it all by machine - no hand quilting here.  One place I have found great videos is The Missouri Quilt Company  website. Great stuff, and great gals there. There is a tutorial on the Flying Geese that is terrific. I didn't use it though because I had finished the top a long time ago - about five years or so ago. Watch the several links I am including on binding, and you can see the two ways of doing it - machine and hand, and then all machine. I love it all by machine. Wendy Butler Berns on Craftsy does it all by machine, and I love her classes. Her Machine Quilting class is terrific.
Next project up is a couple of warm jammie fabric quilts made from scraps and length of fabric left over from the several pair of knit and flannel jammies I have made my grandsons over the last 9 years or so. I have a lot left over, so this should be a design challenge as well as a major winter project for me. I start the cutting this week. It will be some sort of wide strip or wonky block quilt - I haven't decided on the design, but I can't follow patterns as I want to do it all myself from start to finish, and I am not good at measuring or at calculating and the thought of following a pattern meticulously makes my head throb, so I will be jotting up a few designs and getting on with it later in the week. So many people on the PatternReview site have been more than helpful to me in the quilting endeavor, and I have made some good friends in the quilting world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

LEDs make it all visible!

Just a short post to write a bit of praise for my new 50 LED sewing light! This first picture is the machine with the machine's light and the new LED lamp. You can't see the lamp because it has a completely flexible neck, and I have it positioned in back of the machine. You can see the base of the lamp - just a curved slice viewable through the inner area of the machine at the back on your right. The base is a silver disk. The lamp has a very long name. It is the NewerTech NuGreen Flexible Neck LED Desk Lamp.    After Looking around a lot, and using various OTT lights, which I still like very much, I settled on trying this lamp because of the flexibility.
The base turned out to be wider and heavier than the OTT light bases, which supports the flexibility of the neck well, and the lamp doesn't pitch off a table or over on its side when  you use a stretched position for the light. Another shot here shows the position of the lamp behind the machine - nothing in the way of your fabric or your vision while sewing. I do have a problem in the depth of the area behind my machine though, and am going to have to think of a way to reposition the table a bit for larger projects.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Lutterloh Shirt, a Rayon Skirt and Sewing Machine Love...

A finished Lutterloh shirt - the second time around, and this time in a rather flashy Amy Butler print I had purchased on sale a few years back. Here is the original post about the black and white shirt. I didn't alter the pattern, as I like the rather unfitted very early 90s-ness of this pattern. After doing buttonholes and buttons, I am finished running my new machine through its paces. The machine has now finished 8 projects since I got it in June, and now I can put it back to the purpose I bought it for, namely to do my quilting. So, that means finish the binding on the quilt I have already quilted and then get busy on the next quilt!    I also add an illustration of the shirt pattern here for your enjoyment.

Meanwhile, I have also made a rayon skirt on the machine - here is the fabric, but I have no picture of the skirt - it is another second time around Lutterloh pattern, and a simple skirt to make with either two pieces or three if you need to cut two halves of the back to use a small cut of fabric, which is what I did do this time. The rayon is the perfect fabric for this A line skirt. I bought a top with a half cowl neckline to match this shirt. Knit top, tunic actually. Good old Land's End.

I can say that I am seriously happy and satisfied with the Janome Memory Craft 6300.  A few of the things that are different on this machine: you need to turn it on with the presser foot in the down position. I don't know why, but you do. If you don't - it tells you so and tells you to put that foot down and turn it on again. :) Then there is getting used to the knee lift and the thread cutter - neither of which you want to try while the machine is running! Makes sense, but it took me some focus on what I was doing to make this second nature. Running through 8 sewing projects in this little time frame was good for me because I had to do buttonholes, I had to do whatever it took, and the machine is able to flawlessly sew over multiple layers, over delicate fabrics and heavier fabrics, and then turn around and make really nice auto buttonholes! When you have the sensor buttonhole selected (the one where you put the button in the back and it knows how big to make the buttonhole) it automatically cuts the thread for you after the buttonhole. very slick feature! You can also adjust both the density of the buttonhole stitching and the width of each arm (leg? side?)of the buttonhole! WOW.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Tropical Ukulele Case...

Just finished another ukulele case. HAVE to love the tropical fabric! Again, this fabric was a gift, and it was so well suited to a ukulele case! I cut some double-sided cotton quilted fabric (another remnant from Joann's I had around) in brown for a lining, and I used a hearty 22" separating zipper for a jacket that I also had around for the zipper. I first of course closed off the zipper ends with some whip stitching so it wouldn't actually separate on the case..:) I used the same pattern and method of assembly as in this post about a year or so ago. I don't need a strap as I never seem to carry the ukulele anywhere but around the house! The pocket is a nice touch in a coordinating stripe - also a gift. :) You know who you are, so THANKS! :) I added a picture of Luna sticking out of the case so you could see she actually DOES live in there. :) And now of course there is a choice of gig bag. Unless I decided to get another ukulele to put in the other case, or in the new case. It would have to be a Concert size with a low-G tuning though. Something different. Something fun!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Lunch and a Little Pillow....

Just today I made my new lunch sack. I used a medium sized smallish brown paper sack, and cut it down the middle of the sides and across the middle of the bottom...self-made pattern appears in the photos. This was a fun project. I used instructions from two sources, one is a lunch bag pattern from Sew News and one a tutorial that is just great - I wanted to make the bag like the tutorial but finish the top like the lunch bag pattern! However, I wanted it reversible, so I didn't assemble it quite like the tutorial either. It was FUN! I don't like the ones with plastic inside....bbbrrr...who knows what that stuff does or what fumes it releases. I had a purchased lunch tote and it had begun to stink after the first couple of weeks, and that is with me washing it out with detergent and letting it air another week. Needless to say I tossed that thing, and prepared to make my own. The outer print fabric was a gift from a good PR friend. The lining is double-sided quilted cotton from JAs and the bag reverses. I do love that double-sided stuff. I always pick up the remnants when I see them because double-sided fabric is so darn useful for so many projects! I think I can toss this lunch bag into the wash on cold with some towels or the like and clean it thoroughly, an idea which makes sense with something which has food in it on a daily basis. You could make this smaller or larger, depending on the bag or just make your own pattern - with the shape of a brown paper sack!

Meanwhile, I did finish a free motion quilting project on my Pfaff. I had done two small quilt sandwichs with which to make a nice quilted pillow case for my small travel pillow. I used Masterpiece thread on the bobbin and a variegated cotton on top. After finishing it I preferred the back side to the front - because the variegated stitching wasn't really good on this fabric. I am so happy to report that the bobbin side looks better than the top because the even stitching the Pfaff 1222E did and the Masterpiece thread - well - it's a winning combination. In future I am going to be using my Janome MC6300P for FMQ, and I hope it has the same lovely stitching as the Pfaff. I know the Janome 8050 has a nice stitch, and I have been able to try the new J6300 on FMQ too, just to set it up and give a whirl and she preformed extremely well even without the special bobbin case which I do have. Then I assembled the pillow case with my J6300, and sewed it like you would any pillowcase, which made a fairly thick seam in places, but the J6300 treats that like nothing is different! Sews right on through. Nice machine - quiet and smooth. I am very much enjoying the flatbed aspect as well.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Festival Notes...

 Vermont Quilt Festival 2012 was a resounding success from the point of view of the visitors! We had, as usual a good time, and we all left nice and tired! That's how it should be. Previously I recounted the shopping coups and didn't mention too much about the quilts themselves.  The quilts were, as they always are, quite lovely. So much work goes into each show quilt. More work than I can imagine ever doing. Artisans all, the quilters who compete are all winners to me because of the effort and the care they put into making and showing their creations.  I took a class in free motion purporting to free me from too much tension and letting myself get comfy with the medium. The class was fine. A bit too touchy-feely, but there were people there who really benefitted from a more free approach to free motion. The pictures I am using are from the show - they were my favorites and if I had the names of the creators I would add those. The pictures are small enough to preclude using them as patterns, as I want to at least try to meet expectations when I post the work of others.
Some of the class practice techniques were interesting - such as tracing designs with your finger several times to train the brain in a pattern of your choice. Then there was some emphasis on pencil drawings of the designs you were interested in. Some benefit can surely be gotten from this sort of thing, especially for people who haven't previously done much drawing or had art training.  Books were being promoted both in the class and in the Zentangle class and the booths which were selling the Zentangle products. Zentangle is very attractive, and the fact that I love paper and pencils and art items of all sorts makes the Zentangle sets alluring! I did, however, resist because I wanted to buy Lead Day's book instead of falling for the gimmick and over pricing of Zentangle. BUT, O really did think the books are of help to those who just cannot think easily of designs.

All told we had a good day, and it was made extra special because two friends from Maine, and one from Southern Vermont came up and we were able to network, which is what I like to call lunch at the Peking Duck! No, really - we did a lot of talking about the show, quilting, each others machines and works-in-progress and in general had a really good time! It is so good to see friends and to shop with them as well...and to shop with those who understand our thread and fabric manias!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Quilt Quilted....New Toy for Cat....

Wondering where I have been? I finished some projects that had been laying around, mostly mending, and then I spent time for the last several weeks working on my quilt - and now I can tell you the first free motion quilt I have done, in fact the first quilt I have made at all, is finished except for binding. I will put the project of the binding on hold until after Summer much loved family visits and after a few weeks practice again.  There may be room to sew a skirt and maybe even a shirt in that time period.  In other news, the Vermont Quilt Festival came around again, and the two days were a whirl of fun, class and spending,oh dear, I mean judiciously choosing of necessities. I did purchase the Quilter's tool called the Fabulous Fabric Guide  and instead of buying thread at the Superior Threads booth, I bought the thread cards for Masterpiece and King Tut. Who knows what color thread I will want next project, so this lets me hold actual thread next to fabric - I love the cards.

As you may know I have been looking at sewing machines for some time now because the two things I wanted if I ever spent on another machine were more harp space and faster speed, and a knee lift. The knee lift is just so handy. 

I had been following the dropping price on the Brother 1500S at AMAZON, and it had dropped pretty low when I found a really good price on a Janome MC6300.  I am so glad I bought the MC6300 Professional from Janome. The accessories are plentiful, and the fact that it comes with a large acrylic extension table is frosting on the cake. I have it in a Gidget II Arrow table. I don't need more stitches than the 6300 has, and I don't need the other additions of the other machines in the line. My Viking more than has all the extras I need for any type of garment or utility sewing. The 6300 is going to take some time to totally test out and sewing several projects is for the next several months. After all that I'll review it on PatternReview. Meanwhile, here is an excellent review from another site! Janome MC6300P Review            

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Quilt '93 Moves Forward...

I have had some help with my quilt as you can see. This is at the pinning stage. Pearl helped me by keeping the quilt on that table. This is the first quilt I have pinned, but true to my first teacher, Sue Nickels, and then Leah Day and the rest of the good online resources I have read, I pinned the heck out of the quilt sandwich. That time investment really pays off I can tell you now. In between sewing up the straight lines I am running top to bottom down the lines of geese, I fold it up and Pearl sleeps on it on the sewing table - that way the quilt won't escape. Little by little, in the evenings, I have been completing the straight lines. Not perfect by any means, but I am enjoying the sewing very much. I do use the smooshing method rather than carefully rolling the quilt - it is just more my style. I am so glad my Pfaff has a large harp area, and the walking foot now called IDT. So very used to good feed top and bottom by having IDT all these years. Straightening the whole quilt sandwich and keeping it moving smoothly requires stopping quite a bit, removing pins, and making sure all is smooth under the quilt as it moves through. And my space is cramped, but I am used to that anyway, so it's really not a problem for me. I am thankful for the years of sewing experience that allow me to keep watch on 1. the fabric feed, 2. the positioning of the quilt, and 3. the sound and flow of the machine as it goes along. Being able to hear the changes can save you some troubles. The one thing I would love is to know when my bobbin is low, but that is a problem for all types of sewing when you have a vertical bobbin. And, I have been known to not check a horizontal bobbin as well, so that doesn't always do me any good either! In the pictures you might have spotted the Superior Threads Thread Stand. A wonderful gadget. I have an inexpensive thread stand I picked up at JoAnn's years ago, but the edges were a bit rough - yes, really! Not a good thing with thread running across it. So I thought why not go all the way and get this really flexible item from Superior. It can be used many ways, and made to work for my C&C thread I am using now as well. I think I am going to get a lot of use out of it. Meanwhile I did purchase a Sew Slip as well, but haven't had a lot of love for it. I had to remove it to get a visual on the bobbin area of my machine when I ran out of thread last week one night. I wanted to move the Sew Steady Table away so I could do the bobbin, and the Sew Slip made that process worse, so I just rolled it on up and put it away for now. I will try it later on again. Meanwhile, back at the proverbial ranch, I have ordered a Sew Steady table for my Janome 8050 because sometimes I am going to want to place it in the table and use it for free motion. For example, when I get my Pfaff out and take her in for servicing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tiny quilt made from sample effort at Free Motion. I see I really need to study up on binding. I used pre-packaged wide bias tape and I just couldn't seem to get it to miter the corners. SO - the other piece I made I sewed strips on each end, then on the sides and then tucked in the corners, and made two other sample pieces into a cat pad. The cat loves it, so that is sufficient gratification for now. Imagine me even putting this picture up. Being brave. I love the Seattle fabric I got at Hancock's in Seattle a few years back. Next is to scope out a Lutterloh pattern for some summer pants and get my quilt quilted.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Place Mats Are Fun...

Another set of place mats. This one took a long time to finally get done. Other projects interjected themselves into my schedule and other interests got in the way, but finally the Italian/French set is done. I enjoyed the fabrics in this, both of which were designer cottons gotten at the now defunct local fabric shop. I really liked doing the free motion on these. I used Coats & Clarke cotton thread, and used that on both top and bottom on my Pfaff. The Pfaff lets me use heavier threads in the bobbin as well, whereas the Janome and the Viking do not like heavier threads in the bobbin. I see that the picture looks like the chili patterned mat has double binding or something, but there are three placemats in a pile there on top of the French wines fabric side on the fourth one! I made four. I find that four is fine for our family, and if there are more folks than that I put on a table cloth instead!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shapely Shirt Finished Finally...

I finally finished the Petite Plus shirt I started when I purchased the fabric in 2008. I didn't cut it out until 2011 though, after I made a muslin. I reviewed it today on PatternReview, and you can see the link to that review and more on the right side of the page here. I love the fabric, and I like the lace hemming. I put a zipper in instead of a bunch of buttons and button holes too.  It isn't as closely fitted as they want you to think, and that is fine with me. This would make a nice addition to the TNT (Tried and True) pattern staple.  I haven't any more garment projects planned, although with Summer coming, there just might be inspiration in the air. I do have a slight stash, so it is possible to sew a few more shirts for Summer. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Online Quilt Magazine...

It's rare for me to post about a website in a short link-it-up sort of way, but just yesterday I say a reference to this Online Quilt Magazine,  on the Leah Day site, and I signed up right away. I am very impressed with this little webzine. As an admirer of the quilting people, I want to give it a recommendation here. The current issue has an article by Leah Day, as well as other interesting articles, and I got the current issue very shortly after my online signup. Did I mention this is a free publication and all they ask for is your first name and email address. Take a look!

By the way, the little graphic here on this post is part of a tea cozy I made before really taking up free motion quilting. It is made with the leftovers from the large quilt I hope to finish this year - the one quilt which will be my only large quilt as far as I can forecast, as I am interested in smaller projects. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Viking in the Arrow and those Place mats...

After finally finishing the place mats I have been working on for months now,  I want to bind them. For the sewing I use the Viking. Heretofore I have thought that the Viking wouldn't fit into my Arrow table (Arrow 601)I bought for it, but I tried again last week, and I was able to not only fit it in the well on the table, but raise it to a perfect height with my large art book on Impressionism. That book was a gift from the program I graduated from college in back in the misty dawn of time. Actually not that misty - it will be 21 years ago this year. The book was sitting on the shelf getting dusty and wanting to be donated to a library, and then - suddenly - magically - a use. Perfect. now again I removed legs from a Sew Steady table (thanks again Leah Day) and found it really works on the table well.  Now the sewing surface will be at the right height on the Viking as well as the Pfaff. And the Janome can fit down in the table as well. Now to get going on that binding. 

Janome 4 Piece Quilting Set and Craftsy Class...

Beginning with the lovely four piece Janome low shank quilting set, and getting on to Craftsy, this has been a fun few weeks on the quilting scene. Not that I have done anything constructive except practice, but I am now set up to quilt on three different systems, and must never be bereft of a machine short of the opening of an abyss, arguably a dim probability. This foot seems expensive until you realize it has three different attachments that act as three different feet. Plus a needle plate cover, and the most solid looking shank adapter ever on which the three "feet" mount. They mount tightly so that they work seamlessly as though each were a separate free motion foot entirely. No wobbling, no sense of having "just an attachment."  My machine I am currently using this set on hasn't the ability to take the needle plate cover, but doesn't need it. Lots of Janome machines have the two small holes - one on each side of the needle plate, that accommodate this piece. The Janome 8050 does not. I observe that several Janomes do not have these holes. The Janome 115110 (Kenmore 19110) does have them. I love the open toe version, and haven't tried the large plastic piece yet.  That brings me to Craftsy. I signed up for the Machine Quilting Class there, and I highly recommend the video method. Craftsy has done a great job on this site, making class functionality excellent. There are Notes and Chat portions, which are optional, and to me the Notes section is the best. It really works well. Once you sign up you "own" the class as long as Craftsy is online. You can go back and review and watch over and over. The instructor is personable and fun to watch and listen to - a woman who knows her stuff, Wendy Butler Berns. I look forward to watching the rest of the videos and practicing some of the things I learn. Coupled with my DVD from Sue Nickels, I have more than enough to occupy my learning time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

FMQ with Janome 8050...

So I threaded her up with the Masterpiece prewound bobbin and the King Tut on top, and we had a little practice adventure. The Janome 8050 can do very nice free motion. The tension had to be on 5, and the stitch of course on straight stitch at 0 length, and I dropped the dogs, but I also did a patch with the dogs up, and frankly I didn't see any difference, but I think I might stick with feed dogs down. I was so excited about what a nice job the Janome does that I ordered the Janome Free Motion Quilting set for low shank machines just today. I am looking forward to experimenting with that set. I thought the variegated top thread was just lovely, and although I need a whole lot more practice, I am sure having fun. The Masterpiece bobbins are a dream. They fit the Janome perfectly and sew like a charm. The back of the piece is great except where I sometimes seem to curve and pull too much on the curve. Practice, practice, practice. This machine weighs only a little over 12 pounds and would be the ideal class machine - full size, but light, and stable at the same time, so finding the right combination of free motion settings was a nice easy solution. Already the brochure is out for this year's Vermont Quilt Festival, so there is a lot of thinking going on about what classes to take, and what to buy at the show. Fun to think it will be Summer then.