Monday, November 14, 2016

All about the Diamond Sword!

My grandson #2 loves Minecraft!  He helped me layout the skateboard blocks on grandson #1's quilt and I really thought I would make 2 to match.  Later his Dad told me he was not really into skateboards, but reminded me of his love of minecraft.  I showed him Weeknight Quilting's blog and asked if he thought I should do one like hers.   (The graph she drew up is wonderful!)
So it was agreed.  The Diamond Sword was started! 
 I like to use my AccuQuilt for most of my  cutting and since I only had a 5" square die at that time, that's the size I cut my pieces.  There are a ton of squares!  Following the graph, I laid them out in sections on a flannel board and sewed.  and sewed.  Finally it was coming together!  I could see a sword!

I used scraps of different whites, creams and grays and blues. My girlfriend had the gold and I did add to the grays with a fat quarter pack from JoAnn's premium fabrics.  Then I saw a perfect print for the center of the sword!  

I got all the pieces together at my quilt retreat

 then it was ready for 'Babe', my quilting machine!

I am still new at Longarm Quilting but wanted a design to go with the theme of squares.  I decided on a 'stipple' of a continuous series of squares.  It worked well and 'Babe' played along very well. 

 The back is a beautiful 16 bit green that goes very well with the theme.  What I learned...  I used a green bobbin thread to match the back, and a cream to match the front.  Not a good idea.  Occasionally, the bobbin thread dotted the front and, being green, showed.  Next time, same color thread top and bottom.

I bought a TON when I saw it so I would have enough.  I have about 2 yards left, which, if grandson #2 doesn't need it, I will sell on Ebay or in my Etsy store.

Grandson #2 was all smiles and has thanked me a few times for his quilt.  He immediately put it on his bed and started using it!  Just what Grandmas like to see!

We forgot the tv was on in the background.  Oops!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tension relief! ...finally...

After weeks of off and on unpicking stitches, I finally was able to finish the Skateboard quilt number 1 and am onto the next one!

This twin size quilt is bound in yellow and wrapped up, ready to be gifted to my #1 grandson.  I am pleased with it and hopefully he will be, too!

So, what did I do to fix the tension on my longarm?  Very simple.  I asked for young eyes and fingers to help me.  In my tension sagas, I related how I used videos to retime my machine, cleaned every nook and cranny, changed umpteen needles, tried different threading variations, felt and looked for burs and sanded everything.  I felt I couldn't get down and look under the quilt one more time!  Finally I talked about it at the dinner table with my daughter and family and told them I give up.  Remember I did call the nearest dealer and repair person and she said she couldn't come.  My daughter says, don't give up, let me look.  I explained what I had done and why and she took out the bobbin case, did what I did a hundred times- ran her finger over the hook and said, there's a rough spot here.  Do you think that's the problem?  She used my emery board, smoothed it out and we turned 'her' on.  Lo and behold, the stitches were smooth and even and just right.  
I guess even fingers can lose some of their feeling for burs after so many times!

I have started a second Skateboard quilt, this one lap size for my Etsy store, FridaySmiles.  I wish I could have a do over on my #1 grandsons quilt because I'm much happier with my quilting on this one:

The flames came out more even that on the first one.  I was hoping to do some stitch in the ditch on this one but realized that without a stitch regulator on this old girl, it's too much.  I will take it off when I'm finished quilting the sashing and do my stitch in the ditch around the border on my domestic machine.

Next week:  The Minecraft Quilt


Friday, July 29, 2016

Oh no! Tension!

Well,  today I am unpicking the entire first row of my quilt.  Tension.  Need I say more. I have been working with this wonderful old machine and in practice it began, finally,  too work just right.

I happily,  and I thought,  Beautifully quilted the entire first row of skateboards then the border. 
I cheerfully started rolling it to the next section and this is what I saw. ..
Can you see all the loops?
When I investigated the tension spring broke so I have had to order a new one and now need to learn to install it. 
So now the seam ripper and I are becoming goods friends.  
Hopefully the next blog will have it all done and ready to bind! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Making a Collage Quilt

    Making a Collage Quilt

Last year I took a class with Loretta Orsborn of Loretta’s Quilting Bliss and I just loved it!  It was an exercise in design, color and balance.  We had so much fun and everyone’s quilt came out beautiful that we requested she make a paper pattern so others can enjoy this technique, too.  
Well she did!   
The first thing she had us do is find a focus fabric or theme that we wanted to follow through in the quilt.  Then gather up fabric that will match or enhance this theme.  I wanted to use fabric from my stash and for the most part was able to.
Then we were taught to make a strip set of 1 1/2” fabric strips from fabric that we plan to use throughout the quilt.  That was the fun and easy part.  Then on to the designing.
She provides in the pattern a wonderful grid to help us design and use all the fabrics we want.  I chose to make mine in batiks that I have been collecting up for a few years.  I wanted a fall theme so I found a nice border print fabric that I could pull out pumpkins and squash and falling leaves, etc. from.  With the guidelines in the pattern grid I was able to make Section 1 of the series.  It was so fun!  
Some of the girls chose to use orphan blocks and tie them together.  They are beautiful, too.  One on the pattern back that Loretta made from old linens is just beautiful!

I have since made the last 3 sections in this series and when it’s all quilted I will show you all! 

If you would like copies of this fun pattern, I have them both in my Etsy store here, and on Ebay, here.  So gather up your orphan blocks, favorite scraps and get started on this wonderful fun quilt!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

An Important Delay!

When I started this blog last week, I had full intention of blogging twice a week about all my sewing adventures!  Well, this happened:
Finnigan Foxx L.
So little Finn was born and it kind of threw things off around here.  This proud grandma couldn't get things done like normal for a few days, but I do have some fun things going on.
On the way home from the birthing center, my DH asked if I wanted to stop at the Habitat for Humanity Restore.  Well, of course!  I have decided to sell my "too big for my room" beautiful Arrow sewing desk.  We found this and it is perfect for my spot!

I don't know if you can see, but the top drawer is scalloped and so cute.  I just love vintage, don't you?  I cleaned it up and now I need to make a Sewing Machine Mat for my Janome MC9000.  I think I'll use these and blog about it when I'm actually make it.

Next, because I can't stay off Craigslist, I saw this beauty for a very reasonable price.  

My "new" Singer 99K
I got my daughter, baby and 2 year old settled with Papa in charge and went off to check this girl out!  ...and of course, I had to get it.  I hope to restore her and place her in a loving home, (probably mine).  I think I'm beginning to line up projects, but it's so much fun!  

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Convertible Sewing Machine Cover

Here's what been on and in and around my needles this week:

Convertible Sewing Machine cover

I love to fix up old or discarded sewing machines to resell and I came across this one for sale on Facebook:
Kenmore Sewing Machine

The woman let me have it very reasonably because she could not get the tension right.  I wasn't sure I could, but it's such a beauty I wanted to try.  With some thorough cleaning, and adjusting and smoothing out, it works like a dream.  I would even say it hums!  It sews so much like my Janome that I had to look it up.  Sure enough, this Kenmore model is made by Janome.  Very heavy duty.  
I wanted to protect it and have a good mat, so I decided I would make a convertible machine mat that, when not in use, could be used as a cover.  It needed to have pockets for my needles and goodies, so I designed it with some.  Here is what I did:

You will need:
3 fat quarters, cut into 2 1/2" strips
1 piece of batting cut to 19" x 33"
1 piece of matching fabric for the back cut the same as batting
One 3" strip 
Binding:  about 3 yards
Quilt basting Spray
2 - 30" pieces of ribbon of your choice.

For the Rail Fence front:
Sew the strips into strip sets of 3, using 1/4" seam allowance with stitch length set at about 2.  I put the dark one in the center, but you can arrange them in order of value or whatever appeals to you.  Press all to one seams to one direction.  These should measure 6 1/2" after pressing.  Now cut these strip sets into 6 1/2" squares and arrange:
Rail Fence blocks on Design Wall
Sew 3 together to make rows, be sure to check that you are doing it the way you had it laid out on the wall, (or floor or table).  Notice the same fabrics are on the right in all the vertical blocks, and the same fabrics are on the bottom in all the horizontal blocks.  If you chose to have your darkest on the right and bottom, you would see the Rail Fence design more dominant.
Sew together 5 rows of the 3 blocks.  (there are 6 in the picture but I chose to use only 5 rows).
Sew the 3" strip to the bottom of this piece.  Press all seams in one direction and press flat.  Make sure backing piece is also pressed flat.
Now this is how I baste the layers together.  I wish I had photographed this part, but I forgot.  I'll try to explain it the process clearly.
Lay a protective surface on your ironing table to catch the overspray, I use an old sheet.  Open the window.  
Lay the back of the mat right side down onto your ironing table.  I do it in thirds because it doesn't all fit.  So the top third is on the table and the rest is just hanging down in front of it.  
LIGHTLY spray the quilt basting spray on the wrong side, try not to overspray but the old sheet is there to protect things.  
Lay the batting on top and smooth out matching corners.  
Next, spray the top third of the batting.  
Lay the wrong side of the Cover/Mat top on the batting.  You should have about 1/4" to 1/2" more backing and batting than you do the actual Rail Fence Top.  Smooth out, pressing with your hand firmly.  
Carefully slip the sprayed portion up to get ready to do the next bit of the Cover/Mat.
Lifting from the bottom, lift the batting to where you can tell it has adhered and spray the next section of backing.  Smooth the next section of batting, smoothing the previous section with it.  
Lift the Top of the Cover/Mat to previous adhered section and spray the batting.  Smooth Top over that.
Repeat final section.
Press with iron to further smooth out and stimulate the quilt basting spray to adhere more.  Press from both front and back.  I do use steam, but you don't have to.

To quilt this together, it's nice to have a quilting foot, but since I didn't have one with this machine, I used the standard foot and it worked well.  Remember, it's a small piece and we 'glued' it together.
Set your stitch length to 3 and do a long straight stitch in the seams between each block - called Stitch in the Ditch.  Your piece will be secured together.
Now you can have fun using your machine.  I chose to stitch down and across each rail right down the middle and use decorative stitches in the dark centers.  It's a fun way to play with your stitches:

I did this by starting in the center of one long end, taking a couple of stitches, reversing to lock it in, then raising my needle and setting my machine for the decorative stitch.  When I came to the end, I set the machine back to a straight stitch, stitch length 3, needle down turned the project and stitched in the ditch around the rectangle back to the end, reversed to lock, then cut.  It took a little time, but I enjoyed seeing what this machine can do.
When my piece was all quilted together to my liking, I sewed just under a quarter inch all the way around.  Now trim evenly with your ruler and rotary cutter close to the edge of the top fabric, keeping the project squared off at the corners.
Now choose your binding fabric.  I had a lot of leftovers so pulled out a few to see what I liked.  

I didn't have a long enough bit of any piece, so I used 2 different ones.  Bind bottom edge.  You don't have to finish these ends since they will be bound over.  Basically to bind is to take a long strip of fabric between 2 and 2 1/2" wide and fold it in half lengthwise.  Press.  Lay the raw edges onto the bottom edge of right side of project and sew together.  Fold the pressed edge over the raw edge of project and lay right on the stitching line, enough to cover it but not too much.  Now I used another decorative stitch to sew this down, but on a show piece, not a utility piece like this, I like to hand sew this part so it doesn't show through.  You can see my mistake here.  I neglected to change the bobbin thread to match my top thread and the white shows when it meets the top brown thread.  But you can still get the idea.  I love this machine feather stitch:
Binding on pockets
Fold up the bottom to form the pockets.  I folded it up about 5 1/2", but you can modify that to the amount you need or that lays over your machine right.  Stitch the side seam together, leaving raw edges showing, they will be bound with binding.  I made 3 pockets, but you can made more or make them narrower or wider according to your needs.  Once you've decided where, sew a straight line from the bottom to the binding to make the pockets.  Use your reverse stitch to lock it top and bottom.
Now bind the edges and the top.  Since I didn't have a long enough piece to go around, I bound the top like the pocket in one color and the sides in another.  When binding the sides, I folded the end around to make a smooth start and end:

Don't forget to do the same at the end.  Now fold it over, tucking in the ends, meeting the stitched line:

Do this on both ends.  I used another decorative, two-sided stitch to attach this part of the binding.  Again, I like to play with the available stitches.  At the end, I did a wide, tight zigzag to seal it off.  This is not a normal quilting stitch, but since this is a utilitarian project, I made it easy instead of going back to hand stitch those bits.  
You are almost done!  Doesn't it look nice so far!
Now, lay the mat over the top of your machine.  You are going to plan where to sew on the ties.  This step could have been done before the binding and if next time you want to do that, that's good, too.  Now mark evenly where the ribbon should be attached on both sides, back and front.  Place pins there. 

Fold over edge and sew one ribbon to each mark on the lower part, mine is just above the pockets.   Do the same with the other end of the ribbon to the mark on the top, 'back' side.  Left side to left side, right side to right side.  Cut ribbon in the middle at an angle.  Now you are ready to lay it over your machine and tie the ribbon!  
You'll notice, I used buttonholes and tied a knot in my ribbon.  I did this so I could make sure the buttonhole works for when I sell this machine.  I think it looks cute this way, too.

There you have it!
A Convertible Sewing Machine Cover and Mat

This little beauty is now for sale already sold, in my Etsy shop,

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