Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Learning how to machine quilt

Who knew that figuring out how to machine quilt would have a serious learning curve?  So now I have a headache.  My brain is exhausted.  It's hard to do this.  OK, I did 2 practice blocks yesterday, and today I started on a real quilt.  

Yesterday I got brave and started to play with quilting a pineapple block.  Boy did I learn a lot.  After 2 conversations with those poor folks at Style Fabrics about puckers (yes, that dreaded word.)  I lengthened my stitch to 3, used serious body strength to make sure that the sneaky little fabric was taut, and began from the inside out.  

Clearly puckers are not what I want.  I don't care too much if there are puckers on the wrong side as long as they are not humongous.  After all, I am not a Real Quilter.  Real Quilters care; I don't.  But puckers on the right side are another matter.  So today I gathered up my courage and started to sew.  I've now done 2 blocks out of 72, and the second one took me 20 minutes from marking the fabric through tying off the threads at the back.  Not too bad, I think.

If I were a drinking woman, I'd have a large glass of wine at this point.  This is not easy, but the second block was faster and better than the first.  And my friend is needle down.  Oh, how I love needle down.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Welcome, Sophie!

We are happy to announce a new member of our family:  Sophie the Sewing Machine.

She was picked up Saturday morning in Kingston, NY at Style Fabrics about 11:30 (and some good lesson time) and arrived at our house at 3-ish.

She is a Pfaff 4.2, with a bunch of bells and whistles, including needle-down!

We set her up, and then I promptly forgot all the instructions on winding the bobbin, installing the bobbin, and threading the needle.  But a quick phone call to the store gave me all the info.  So now I can do all those necessary things, plus change the needle because, ahem, I managed to damage it. 

Now she is up and running and busy assembling some sort of half-log cabin block.  

She does the prettiest decorative stitches.  I can see why people buy embroidery machines, and I'm a hand stitcher from way back when.  I played around with all of them, and I have to get some stabilizer so that my fabric won't pucker.  I'm thinking of incorporating these stitches in my quilting.  Yep, Real quilters wouldn't do this, but I'm not a Real quilter, so I can do what I want.

Why the name Sophie?  Because she sews, silly.  Other than my car, I've never named an inanimate object before, but clearly she is Sophie.

BTW, if you are in the Hudson Valley (we are in northern NJ) and are looking for a great sewing machine store, I recommend Style Fabrics.  They sell and service Pfaffs. They are very knowledgeable, friendly, and they don't blanch when I ask dopey questions.  A lovely selection of fabrics and books and of course lots of Pfaffs.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Design Floor Monday

Finished!  A soft, pastel Boxed Stars quilt.

Finished a couple of weeks ago, but with the Jewish High Holidays going on for a few weeks, I just never had the time to post.

She needs a border, and I think I have enough of that white material to make a 2.5" border around.

I loved doing this.  My points are not perfect.  Hey, they are not even half perfect.  They were pretty good until I boxed the stars, and then most of them did not line up nicely with the box border, but I really don't care.  I['m far more interested in the color play than in sewing perfection.  Anyhow, whoever gets this quilt won't care either.  That's the advantage of being the only quilter in my family.  They all love what I do, and don't know enough to see the mistakes.  Hah!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Design Table Monday

I'm boxing my stars.  

Here are some more.

 I just ordered yet another book on quilting as you go.  I really don't like the process of making the quilt sandwich.  What I want is to make the individual blocks, then make a mini-sandwich of backing, batting and block, quilt it (either by hand or machine) and then join the blocks as I go along.  I've been looking at various techniques and am still searching for the perfect one.  Which I may never find.  

At any rate, these guys will all be joined up.  A white border, and that's it.

Have I told you just how much I love making these?

Friday, September 12, 2014

No more inept quiltarian.

I'm still in starry heaven.  Who knew that flying geese could be such fun?  Way back when I started quilting, I did a couple of Schnibbles, and one of the patterns included tons of flying geese.  So, being brave and dumb, I made tons of the geese.  I used Carrie's method, which works for most people, but not for me.  This time, I made rectangles with folding corners, and I can do it!  By golly, I'm a real quilter!  Like knitting, the quilting world has lots of ways to make the same object. And one of these days, I'm going back to making Schnibbles!

I boxed in one of the stars and I like how it looks. I have 4 different fabrics for the boxes.  This star is my first star before I got those points correct.  I'll keep it just to remind me of how far I've gotten.  Besides, I like the color.

And i am no longer an inept quiltarian.  Well until the next time something messes up.  Eh, who cares, I'm learning and having fun.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

More Stars.

I think I'm a star-crossed lover.  I love making stars.  Yes, I know what the original phrase means.  But I like making stars and then arranging them, and crossing them over each other.  Sigh.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stars again

Yay, stars!  I did it!  I conquered flying geese and folded corners!  Wow, does this ever open up possibilities for me.  

I really struggled with these two elements, until I realized that moving the needle was the way to handle them.  So I move the needle to the right 2 clicks (I have an older Pfaff without the gazillion needle positions), and then my sewing line is a pinch over the actual sewing line.  And it works!

There are many quilters who can handle that scant 1/4" seam naturally without having to resort to playing with needle positions, but I'm not one of them.  So, my scant 1/4" seam is 3 clicks to the right, and now my geese and corners are 2 clicks to the right.  

I made a note and stuck it onto the machine, 'cause you know I'm going to forget this.


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