Trying to fit it all in

I think as women we all try and juggle several hats at once. Men will probably say they do too but hey, it’s my blog. I’ve been wearing my Daughter, Farmer, Wife, Mom, Cook, Friend, Teacher hats this past week as well as trying to fit in my Sewist/Quilter hat here and there. A friend of mine bought a used longarm quilting machine 6 or 7 years ago. It has sat in her basement all this time because she couldn’t figure out how to use it. When we were together last November I happened to mention that I had rented some time on a long arm machine and quilted a quilt myself. This one here, I wish I had taken better pictures of the quilting because it did turn out pretty good, all things considered. So Val decreed that I would come over and teach her how to use her machine… then she promptly left for Nevada for the winter. Well, with the weather warming up and spring supposedly arriving she is back and we got together one day last week to try and figure the machine out. It was kind of a gong show. We removed the practice piece off the frame because we needed more batting between the front and back. Then she told me she didn’t know how to put it back on – if I had known I could have taken pictures before we took it all apart. The manual and the video that came with it couldn’t be found – those would have helped ! We tried to download a manual from the internet and her computer got a virus… I’m not kidding ! She called a local computer store and they tried to help her over the phone  and then told her to bring it in because it had a virus. Oh yeah, and she had to run over to the school and get her granddaughter because she was running a fever – so there was a sick kid in the house too !

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Anyways, we did get the practice quilt sandwiched back onto the frame and perhaps it is loaded on correctly – we don’t know.

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The frame and sewing machine are very different than what I had rented long ago and I found it difficult to remember the steps. 100_2801

We muddled through and were able to make a couple of practice runs across the fabric before I had to go. We did have some trouble setting the stitch length. There is no stitch length regulator on the sewing machine but even when we changed the settings on the machine it would make long stitches when I was using it. When Val used it would make tiny little stitches. Val has since found her manual so that should help. You can see up on top that there is a laser included with her set up so we should have some fun with some pantograms once we get it all figured out. Val lives about 60 miles from me so I hope I can get back before we forget everything again. In other news I have finished my Bijoux stacked coins quilt top. It was a very easy pattern and used the fabric very efficiently with almost no wasted material.

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sorry about the lousy picture – overcast day and too many things in a  small room ! The top measures approximately 65″ x 69″. 100_2822 - Version 2

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I was going to try and incorporate the above leftover strips into the backing but in the end did not. The backing consists of one of the prints sewn with a horizontal seam ( Zzzzzzz) I usually prefer a pieced back to add interest. Since I am planning on quilting this on Val’s longarm I decided not to add in too many more seams to complicate things. Instead, I’m thinking these leftover strips and some solids, will make a great table runner… you know, one day when I have nothing else to do 😉

Thanks for reading this far I know it’s a long post.

Best wishes for a good week.

Colleen

More Experimenting

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Since my sewing with denim hot pad was a  success, I’ve progressed to sewing a placemat with the denim.

The quilting cotton block in the centre is also an experiment for a bigger block that I plan to make with some Alison Glass fabric, Handcrafted. I am nuts about the AG fabric and am more than a little scared to cut into it.

As I was making these blocks for the placemat I took some pictures to share with you. You all probably know how to do this but here it is anyways:

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I cut 4 different fabrics into 6 x 9″ rectangles and laid them in a stack.

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then I made 3 cuts at slight angles.

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I then shuffled the fabrics in this order; the second from the left top piece went to the bottom of the stack, the 3rd from the left top two pieces went to the bottom and bottom piece came up to the top on the fourth stack.

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keeping the pieces in order, moving from left to right, take each top piece and sew together at an angle.

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because they are at an angle you have to off-set the seams. I found that by placing the two pieces of fabric so that they cross right where you begin your 1/4 ” seam off-sets them just right.

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your block ends up measuring 6 x 7.25″

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I made a mistake in the order I pieced them together but it didn’t seem to make a difference.

I then sewed the two straight sides together of 2 of the blocks and bordered it all with the denim.

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After putting the quilt sandwich together I stitched in the ditch between the quilting cotton and added the straight line quilting in red thread on the denim.

My fabric selection here was a bit of a momentous occasion. The green fabric is from my precious collection of Flea Market Fancy and the binding is from the Chicopee line. I call it ‘momentous’ because I have been ‘saving’ these fabrics. I need to convince myself to bring them to the light of day and use them up !

I haven’t washed the placemat yet so it will shrink a bit but I think I’ll make the denim borders a little smaller on the next one. If anyone wants the measurements of these borders just let me know in the comment section.The placemat is a little big right now, measuring 14.5 x 18.25″

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In determining the proportions for my placemat I had read somewhere that you should have a good amount of fabric around your dinner plate. This certainly fulfills that requirement but if I had all the placemats laid out at the chairs around the table the edges of the placemats would be overlapping and that would look kinda silly.

In other news I also made another hot pad to go with the experiment from the last post. It’s the first time I have tried raw edge appliqué.

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Thanks for reading this far !

Please leave a comment – it’s up at the top of the post by the date.

I’m linking up with Lee here at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday !

She said it couldn’t be done…

so of course the little voice in the back of my head, that’s always getting me into trouble, piped up and whispered ” challenge accepted !” Now really, I wish this was about something more important like curing the common cold but no. I was at the fabric store looking at the denim that was on sale and asking if she thought I could mix it up with some quilting cotton and make some placemats ? She said no, you can’t do that because the shrinkage rates are different and the weave  and the stretch… blah, blah – I didn’t hear much of that because of the previously mentioned voice was drowning her out.

Instead of sewing up half a dozen placemats I decided put together a little hot pad experiment to see if it would work:

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The denim sewed together with the quilting cotton just fine. There is a little more stretch to the denim but nothing to worry about. I did use my walking foot to help the fabric feed evenly. That ruler is straight, btw, I guess the lens of the camera just bows it out a bit. I put one layer of insulbright and one layer of batting in between the front and back.

Did you notice my little labels, they’re new and I love them :-)))

The real test was how the two different fabrics were going to get along in the laundry room.

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After washing, Ta – daaa, it worked ! I couldn’t be more pleased with my little experiment ! I just love the texture of the denim and I think the contrast with the quilting cotton adds interest. The whole look was exactly what I had in mind – country casual kind of look.

I was worried about the dye coming out of the denim because I hadn’t pre-washed anything. I used a new-to me laundry detergent called “Purex No Sort with Anti-Colour Technology”. I can notice that the white in the binding isn’t quite as brilliant but it is still ok by me. I usually use Synthrapol if I am washing a fabric I suspect might bleed. This is a special detergent that keeps the dye molecules suspended and I believe that Synthrapol is better than other detergents at keeping dye from coming off a dark section of fabric and landing onto a light section of fabric.

I am trying to decide if I should go ahead and pre-wash the denim or just start making my placemats ? I do like the exaggerated crinkle effect I got by not pre-washing. What do you think ?

In other news, I finished the fox placemat for my Mom.

(click on the images to make them bigger)

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I’m happy with the way it turned out. I showed it to my husband and he was completely at a loss. He could not see the fox face. He thought it was an upside down tent. My son looked at it and it took him a minute but he did guess correctly

Weird, plain as day to me but I’ve been working with it for a few days !

Have a great weekend !

Please leave a comment, it’s up at the top by the date.

It Ain’t Easy

It ain’t easy, it ain’t easy
It ain’t easy to go ahead when you’re going down

Long John Baldry

I was side tracked a bit this week… paper piecing is to blame, yet again.

For some reason I decided that I just had to pp a fox. You see, my aunt, Mom’s older sister, passed away last week at the age of 96 leaving my mother as the only living member from a family of 9. Fox, having played a role in my mother’s childhood, is the only reason I can fathom for my urgent desire to make a fox out of fabric and paper.

I looked at many examples around the internet and finally settled on a pattern by Judit Haidu available for free on Craftsy.

The pattern is designated as a beginner skill level but I think it would really frustrate a beginner. I had several problems with it and had to unpick a few seams. The numbering system for attaching the fabrics to the template is not what I am used to. Also, about 2/3 of the way through the block you are told to tear the paper off and stitch what you have to a new template paper. Eventually I muddled through it and am fairly pleased with my results.

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The block measures 7.5″ x & 7.5 unfinished.  Mom doesn’t do much cooking any more so I decided that a placemat would get more use than a hot pad.

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Borders were added.

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Some quilting was done – stitching in the ditch and not-so-straight line quilting. Once the binding is added I think it will be about 12″ x 16″ finished. As is usually the case, the first one is always the hardest and I would likely find making a second one much easier. If you had asked me yesterday if there was going to be a second fox block I would have said,”no”. Today I am mulling over other fabrics I could use so, I’m saying “maybe” !

In other news, I have made some progress on my Bijoux quilt. It doesn’t look like it here but the quilt should be about 68″ x 70″ once it is finished.

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Yes, that’s my folded up treadmill in front of my design wall. I should really move it out of my sewing room… I’d be more likely to use it !

If you have paper pieced a fox I would love to see it and please include a link to the pattern.

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment, it’s up at the top by the date.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.