Tuesday, June 19, 2018

TIME TO FINISH UP SOME OLDES

I have a habit of starting things, getting side tracked and stuffing them away, often for years.  These two items are an example of that. 
This wall hanging/table topper actually was partially quilting.  I was able to locate the thread I started with and have determined to work on it a little each day until it is done.

You can see the straight line quilting I started with in the upper right side.  I am continuing with that theme.
This winter wall hanging is my second must finish.  Yes, the center is off, missing the diagonal row of red squares to make it symmetrical.  The piece is square though.  Somewhere along the line I lost the additional fabric and I sort of like it this way.  It think it makes it interesting!  Plus missing the fabric to finish it off makes it necessary.   It came to either finish or toss it.  I like it too much to toss.  
I am quilting it in my own crazy way.  I do not do free motion quilting.  I took a class for an entire week and still no go.  This is the best I can do.  I know I should practice, and it is on my to do list eventually now that I have retired.  However the piece is completely quilted, the binding is sewn on and half way hand stitched down.  It will hang in my entry when winter returns and it is DONE.
    

Friday, June 15, 2018

APPLIQUE CLASS

On Wednesday my quilt guild offered a workshop with Sandra Mollon making one of her patterns.  Our guild offers a number of workshops throughout the year for $40.  This class was from 9 to 3:30 with an hour lunch break.  Now that is a bargain!  I have done a lot of appliqué, but it is all raw edge.  I simple have never mastered turning the edges of my appliqué pieces under.  
She had us double our freezer paper.  It makes a template much heavier and you can use them multiple times.  
This wasn't too hard.  Starch and a paint brush, plus a hot iron and this piece is ready to go.
OK these were easy, no inside curves.  
This leaf turned out well too.  I used mostly Batiks for this project, but this is one of her hand dyed fabrics, which she sold and the thread count on them was really tight so they almost feel like Batiks.  
This inside curve would have really got me, but with some extra help I managed that as well.  On top of it she showed us a number of techniques using inks, pencils, and fabric pens.  I have a whole set of inks and never used them before.  With a bit of her instructions I will be pulling them out of my closet and making use of them now. 
Once I got home I decided to tackle my water lily piece.  Easy curves, and no need to ink or pencil, as I purchased a Batik that had the colors I needed in it pre-done for me. 
This little guy is wonderful.  I have had it for years and this is the first time I have ever used it.  
One water lily done.  I used a hem stitch to sew my petals and leaf down using invisible thread.  The stitches are almost not seen.  All this to say it is never to late to try that I can't do this project.  And, maybe take a chance and go to a class that teaches it for a bit of extra help.  


Wednesday, June 13, 2018

THE GEESE QUILT

When I started making geese to go with my Dresden blocks I decided to make a quilt with just geese.  I did go to a larger size of 4 by 8 inches.  But I figured as long as I had all those florals and read solid fabrics out all over the floor, why not.  
I use a Bloc-Loc ruler for my geese.  They are a bit pricey and you have to have a ruler for every different size, but the geese come out perfectly.  
Not always easy to get a good photo of larger quilts.  This one is 56 wide by 64 inches long.  
I made 28 geese.  Now it is off to the quilter.  
Ginger our Yorkie [aka the princess and the pea] could care less about quilts or geese for that matter.  She generally likes to sit in my sewing studio when I sew, but photo sessions are not her favorite pastime.  Thus the discussed look when I snapped a photo of her disturbing her get away nap.  


Friday, June 8, 2018

DRESDEN LESSONS I'VE LEARNED

Yesterday I finished off the last two Dresden Blocks out of the 30 I have made over the last few months.  They can be a bit tricky and while making them I have learned a number of tips and tricks that has made them very easy to accomplish, which I would love to share.
This seam at the top of the blade is sewn with a very very small stitch.  I learned that you could then poke a lot when turning it to get that nice point without making it through the seam.  I also found that the above cut worked better than the normal diagonal cut  I usually used on a seam I planned to turn.  
I have several tools for tuning points, but this really sharp point worked the best.  
So you can see that this gave me a really nice point on the blade.
When sewing my blades together I did not start at the top.  I started a short distance down on the seam, took a stitch or two forward, then backed up over the end.  Then I cut cut off the thread it would not show at the top of the blades and I could leave a bit of a thread tail.  I also used a smaller stitch on the seams.
This is a normal stitch plate on most machines.  Notice the large oval opening for the needle.  This does not work well with making these little guys.  They are small and can get sucked down into that opening.
I used my single opening plate.  By the way this plate is wonderful for piecing.  It improves your stitch and seam accuracy.  Just do not try to do a zig zag with it.  However, I have learned I can move my needle over just one or two degrees for a wider or narrower quarter inch seam.  Every machine is different so be careful when experimenting with that.
When pinning your plate onto you background fold your background in half and again in the opposite directions and finger press. Then line up each blade on the pressed line equally on all four sides.  Use either the point or the seam between two blades all the way around the four sides and it will be be placed perfectly on your background.  My backgrounds were made with four different fabrics so I had a seam to line up my blades.
I sewed my blades down by machine with thread that matched or blended well given what fabrics I used in my blades.  They can be hand appliquéd down as well, but 30 Dresden blocks was more than I was interested in doing hand appliqué on.  I think they looks just fine with this method.  
I hope this little tutorial helps some of you think about maybe giving Dresden Plates a try.  I pretty much threw in the towel a couple years ago making them.  When I got involved in making the Anthologie Southern Charm quilt along a while back I had to jump in and figure them out.  Since then I have sort of become addicted to them, and will soon show you my 24 Dresden with 24 Flying Geese quilt. 

  

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

DRESDEN PLATES PRODUCTION FINALS

For a couple months now I have been making Dresden Plates and Geese for a quilt.  I needed 24 of each.  I'm down to the last production line of the 6 largest Dresden's.  Normally I made them somewhat one at a time, except for cutting out the blades.  These last six I started pretty much a production line.  
I just started sewing their tops together.  And ended up with this pile after a bit of time. 
They are chain pieced so at least I have each plate all on a string ready to go.  
Yes, the results.  No center yet or background.  I actually cut out all the matching centers and have them with their adhesive ready to go.  
I am using heavy weight Heat and Bond.  I do not want the centers to be all stiff and heavy so I only bond about a quarter of an inch around the edges.  The heavy weight really holds well so I can blanket stitch around the edges of the center, but they will be soft and pliable.  Plus I do cut out the backing fabric once they are sewn down to remove that extra layer of fabric.
And now one all ready pinned down to sew around the blades ends and put the center on.  
To add to my distractions this week my old studio TV decided to give it up.  Now I don't really watch TV when I am sewing, but a food/cooking or animal planet program are nice background noise.  I have a sewing machine on each side of this corner center so it in a perfect area to see while sewing.  It is a bit of a clutter sometimes in this area, but it works.  There is an attempt to keep me on track with my little chalkboard and a bulletin board with more information that anyone really needs.  I probably should do some reorganization in this area.  

Friday, June 1, 2018

QUILTING STUDIO UPDATE

Occasionally my quilting studio gets really messy and things are hard to find.  Occasionally is probably not quite the proper term, since this happens frequently.
I have a peg board that my husband put up for me years ago that has worked very well, but on a trip to a local hardware store I discovered lots more possibilities of improving that storage space. 
Hooks now come in longer versions and those little blue baskets are really handy.  I did a complete overhaul of that space and was able to rid myself of lots of clutter on my cutting table.  
On Mother's Day one of my daughters gave me this metal basket with candles and pretty kitchen tools in the divided areas.  Hmmmm, I thought the perfect area to toss all those odds and ends into it and get them at least in one area.  I think I need another to replace that plastic storage bin that houses my starch, Best Press, and Downy Wrinkle Release spray.  By the way that Downy works great for releasing that fold lines in fabric.  I still have a bit more reorganization to do on this work area, but things are better. 
With things cleaned up a bit I finally finished off the last four runners for my guild's quilt show Boutique.  These two used up the last of my Valentine fabric scraps.
I love this binding for them.  

And this one of two runners made from fabric leftovers from a number of years ago.  Nice to get this done and out of my stash, makes room for more new things in the future.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

CRICUT MAKERS

My friend Brooke at Silly Mama Quilts was lucky to receive a Cricut Maker.  She will be doing a number of posts on her blog over the next few weeks and months showing all the wonderful things it can do for quilters and crafters.  
I have eyed the Cricuit Makers from time to time, but having never seen how they work and given the cost of them have not taken the plunge.  While visiting Brooke I did get a chance to observe how it worked and play with it a bit.
We had a chance to put it to work on a project Brooke will be making not only to post for the Cricut people, but it will also become a cute gift for her grandson.
This project has numerous fabric cuts along with  two different stabilizers.  Normally lots and lots of cutting of different sizes.  Cricut did it in a very short time, plus numbered the pieces to go with the pattern and even provided registration marks for applying fusible stabilizers.



We also played with making a table runner that required three different rectangular cuts with multiples needed for each. A simple task of putting in the size and telling the computer to tell Cricuit how many you want.  You can even save them to do more later.
 Fun to watch the fabric go into the machine and the pieces come out all cut and ready to go.
I am still not convinced I need a Cricut, but do see the advantages they provide.  Plus it was a ton of fun playing with it.