Saturday, July 31, 2010

SewCalGal's Pet's on Quilt Show

SewCalGal ( ) is hosting a Pet's on Quilt Show from August 7th through August 21st with all kinds of wonderful prizes to be given away by random number generator so everyone has a chance to win.  There are several categories that you can enter including:
  • - working on quilts with any animal theme
  • - take photos of your pets on your quilts
  • - make a pet bed(s) or quilt(s) for an animal living in any local Animal Shelter
So get your pet quilts ready, and photos of your pets on your quilts since August 7th is just a week away.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Batik Gems - Part 4

I started piecing the columns together this evening and I was still having some troubles with the batik fabrics wanting to go down into the bobbin area.  I'm using a brand new Schmetz Microtex needle which are the extra sharp ones they recommend for batik fabrics because of their denser weave. 

Wanda of Exuberant Color made a comment on part 2 of this series that she thought I could make a single hole opening with tape and a piece of cardstock. Punch a hole with a 1/8" punch and tape it in place between the feed dogs.

Well I found some heavy plastic that is used to make templates and I cut a small square from that.  I didn't have a hole punch, but I used the pointy end of my seam ripper and placed a hole in the middle of the square.  I then trimmed it down to size to fit over the area of the opening and yet allow the feed dogs free movement.  I used some UHU Tac - removable adhesive putty to keep the plastic square in place and then tried out the new invention.

Here is the results.  Even the little squares sewed up very nicely and no pull what so ever.  So for the time being I will go with the make shift solution but I think a single hole opening throat plate will be on the wish list for future upgrades.  Thanks Wanda for your great suggestion.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Batik Gems - Part 3

Here are my finished 16 patch blocks.  I'm very pleased with how they turned out.

So I started to place all the blocks and strips on my design wall and here is my final layout ready to sew.

I have to say one thing, I'm not very impressed with the design layout and math in the Batik Gems book by Laurie Shifrin.  After I finished placing all the columns of fabric up on the design wall I noticed that the lengths were different from column to column (see bottom of above picture).  At first I thought I either placed a strip of fabric in the wrong column or cut a fabric the wrong length.  When that wasn't the case I went back to the book and I started to run the math based on what the various lengths were suppose to be in each column.  Even after taking into account the different number of seams that can occur from column to column because some columns have 5 pieces, some 7 and some 9 pieces to join together, the end results were 49.5". 50.0" and 50.5" in length.  Fortunately there was only one column that was 49.5" long and 4 each for the other 2 lengths so I decided to lengthen one fabric in the short one and then when I finish sewing them all I will trim everything to the 50.0" length.  I'm not sure but there may be some other math issues in the pattern so I will wait until I'm finished and then send a note of to C & T Publishing to let them know of the issues. 

This kind of stuff is really annoying because I don't know about you, but I first think that I did something wrong.  Then after checking all of that and you go back to find out it's the pattern that is screwed up, then it is even more annoying because you have paid good money for the book and these things should have been checked and tested.  So there went more than an hour of my time that I could have used for sewing.  I guess tomorrow I will start sewing the pieces together since I'm exhausted at this point in time and I don't want to make and sewing mistakes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Batik Gems - Part 2

I got the majority of the fabric cut for the orange quilt with the exception of the borders.  Yesterday I started sewing the 16 patch blocks and came into some problems.  The 16 patch blocks are made up of small 1 1/2" squares of fabric which proved to be a sewing challenge.  My machine kept wanting to swallow up the fabric into the bobbin area.  I even tried a starter piece of fabric then did the chain piecing with the little squares of fabric and still ended up with numerous messes to clean up (see picture below). 

My problem is that the throat plate has a wide opening because of the zigzag stitch and I would need to buy a special plate that has a small diameter hole that would only allow the needle in. Well that's another expense of about $45.00 and after spending plenty on fabric for the 2 quilts I'm going to be making I figured there has to be another way.

Sure enough, paper piecing. Thanks to Hetty of Crafts and Stuff she showed me earlier this month how to convert regular piecing blocks into paper pieced patterns. So I drafted up my pattern and I ended up doing 2 test runs before getting things right. So now I have a perfect 16 patch block that is ready to sew into my quilt. I just have 8 more to make.  So Hetty I have a bunch of 1 1/2" squares of fabric with no use.  Would you care to add them to your "tiny scrap block" project?  Let me know.

Also I want to say thank you to Marina and Daryl at Quilt Inspiration I entered a giveaway at the begining of the month and won 2 issues of McCall's Quilting and it's great since I don't have these issues.  So when I take a break from quilting this weekend I'm going to be browsing through my magazines.   

Monday, July 19, 2010

Batik Gems - Part 1

Well I now have a second project to start that is also kind of scheduled for completion in September.  This one is also for a 75th birthday.  My mom is in a nursing home with dementia and initially was having a hard time because she would misplace her things and then would assume that people were stealing her things.  Fortunately she made friends with one of the residents, Jean who doesn't have dementia and has been able to help mom find her misplaced belongings.  They have become really good friends and it has helped mom adjust to life in the nursing home as well as get her involved with various activities so she isn't just sitting in her room staring at the TV all day. 

I found out that Jean will be turning 75 in September and her favourite colour is orange.  So I decided that I would also make her a quilt based on one of the patterns from the book Batik Gems by Laurie Shifrin.  The pattern is called Vertical Vision and in her book she did it up in various tones of purple.

So here are my choices for this quilt.  The orange fabric with the flowers will be the border fabric.  The selection of blues to greens will be the small accent blocks along the border as well as the small accent strips throughout the main body of the quilt.

Then here are the various orange fabrics that I found to go with the border fabric.  Many are batiks, but a few are not.

So I guess I'm going to be busy for the next couple of months making 2 quilts for 2 - 75th birthdays in September.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cherish Nature - Part 1

I'm starting the preliminary work on a new quilting project that is going to be based on Moda's Cherish Nature fabric and the pattern that they developed for this fabric.  I found out a little while ago that our cat sitter Lyn is going to be 75 years young this September so I wanted to make a special quilt for her to commemorate this major milestone in her life. I've got 2 months which I hope will be doable.

I initially saw this fabric when several of the gals from our small quilt group went on a shop hop back in May and one of the gals bought a kit to make this quilt.  The fabrics were gorgeous.  Now I'm going to be modifying the pattern because first I wasn't able to get all the fabrics that they had recommended since I was trying to find them after they had been out for a while and second the size of the finished quilt would be too large for me to do the actual quilting on my machine.  Here is a picture of the original pattern.

I'm not going to be adding the final floral border which will reduce the size of the quilt by 12" both in width in length.  In addition I will be changing the small green border to the egg fabric that is on the brown background. The half square triangles will be slightly different in that I don't have the green bumble bee fabric, and in its place is the aqua bumble bee fabric.  I have the dark aqua sponged fabric but not the light aqua one so in it's place I have the natural sponged fabric. I do have the brown swirl fabric. 

Below is a picture of the full panel that portions will be used for the quilt.  I'm thinking that the other parts I may use on the back with Kaufman's fusion fabric in espresso.

The one thing that I wanted to do on this quilt is a trapunto effect on the egg borders.  This time I had a different idea from what I did with the cardinals on my Christmas quilts from last year.  I decided to take Misty Fuse and fuse it to some batting. Then using an egg shaped template, cut out egg shaped pieces from the batting.  Here is my test using the aqua egg fabric.

Next I placed the egg shaped pieces of batting with the Misty Fuse side down on the wrong side of the fabric over top of where the egg shapes are.

I folded over a piece of parchment paper and ironed on the egg shaped pieces of batting to the fabric.  When I ironed, I made sure to iron both sides to ensure a good bond with the Misty Fuse.

This is what the pieces of batting look like after they have been ironed onto the back of the fabric.

Next I put together my regular quilting layers of back fabric, batting and top fabric.

This is a picture from the top of the layers.

Then I free motion quilted around the egg shapes.  This is just a rough sample and there is some puckering because the fabric is not sewn down to anything else so it was moving a bit while I was quilting.  The egg in the lower right hand corner turned out the best.

This is a view from the side and as you can see the eggs do indeed have a dimension to them.

Monday, July 5, 2010

EQ7 - Just Arrived

I just received the new EQ7 software today and have been busy installing it and getting things set up.  It's been quite some time since I have used EQ (Electric Quilt).  The old version I have is 5 and I haven't touched it in several years.  When I saw that they were releasing version 7, I read several of the reviews from people like SewCalGal: . I realised that I needed to get the latest version.  There are some very interesting things that it can do and I'm now on the learning curve starting from the bottom.  It will be interesting to see how long it will take to progress from the basics to the more advanced features so I will keep you posted of my adventures with EQ7. 

The next few days will be a good time to explore since we are in the midst of a heat wave and even though we have window air conditioners in the apartment, the sewing room faces west and it's just way too hot and muggy to be quilting in there.  The heat wave is suppose to break by Thursday and hopefully I will be able to get back to my quilting then.