Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Delving into machine quilting

I've been quilting for 17yrs. I've always been a hand quilter. Only machine quilting a few little things here and there. Like pot holders or table runners. I just enjoy hand quilting.

But things change, and due to physical problems, I haven't been able to do much hand quilting this past year or so. I have been machine piecing projects though, and have decided that this is the year to really learn how to machine quilt.

First lesson:

Make sure you use the right presser foot!!

This is the foot I use for piecing. It's just a normal foot, sews a great straight line, but doesn't sew well on thick pieces.

I sand whiched a small project and started sewing. I was using my normal presser foot to quilt with. And it was a disaster. The tension wasn't right, no matter what I did. It was still sewing tight. The foot didn't want to go over the seams very well, so kept getting caught on my fabric, which caused puckers.

Then the light bulb went off, and I remembered that I had a 'quilting' foot! It's not a walking foot. It's just this little foot, that is more open in the front and has rounded ends.

I don't know if you can see the difference in these pictures. Top one is using the quilters foot, bottom the normal foot.

The difference is amazing!! With the quilters foot, you can see in those two pictures, that my curves are better. The stitches don't get bunched together and fabric doesn't bunch least not as much.

The quilters foot glides over the fabric, the tension issues are solved...well, almost (I need to adjust it just a little, the top thread peaks on the backing a little).

I don't think the quilters foot can do free motion quilting. But at least I can do some simple, straight line quilting.

I know that I need lots of practice...

Do you think this stack of pretties will give me the practice I need?? LOL

 This is only about a THIRD of the quilt tops I have, that need quilting! I should be pretty good, by the time I'm done :)

Till next time....


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Another rainy Saturday

The rain and snow are still coming down here. We are finally going to see a relief from it on Tuesday. Now I love snow, but I am tired of being cold. The older I get, the more it affects me.

So the mystery quilt weekend is done. I have another top to add to my pile that needs quilting. I am hoping that this Summer is going to be a turning point for me, and I'll be able to get some tops quilted up. Here's a sneak peek.

This block is very interesting to me. I think I am going to have to make more and play with them. I love have the X looks like it's floating.

Saturday's are usually days that I put aside my chores, except for cooking, and spend time in the sewing room. It's my one dedicated morning. This morning I am working on a new bag pattern.

Here are a few bags I've made recently.

I call these my Ditty Bags. Cute huh?!

I made this satchel bag awhile back.

Today I will finish up doing a Satchel bag for the boys. It has lots and lots of pockets, places for clipping things like flashlights and compasses. And a place for a water bottle. It will be a great bag for a little boy (or girl) to take outside and explore nature with.

Well that's what I've been up to. How about you? Making anything new?

Thanks for stopping by.

Till next time....


Friday, March 18, 2011

Snow day = sewing and baking

Well it's another snow day here in Northern California. It's cold, and slushy and wont last long, but I am ready for some sunshine. It's looking like March is going to be a very wet month.

So, what do you do on a cold, snowy day?? You sew a fun mystery quilt and bake some yummy cinnamon rolls! At least, that's what I did today :)

Here is a few sneak peeks of Jess's mystery quilt this month. You still have time to buy the pattern, the fun starts tomorrow.

I know, not much of a peek...

Don't want to ruin the mystery though....

Sorry for the tease!! LOL

Speaking of mystery quilts. Did you know that Jess is one of the nominees for Pattern Designer, in the Golden Quilters Awards, put on my SewCalGal. You can go here, to vote (leave a comment on that post).

Have a great weekend!

And good luck Jess!!

Till next time,


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mitered corners

Hello Everyone, hope that Spring time is coming to you all soon. I can certainly feel it when I head off my mountain and go into the valley. The allergies are AWFUL down there! I'm soooo glad to be up and out of it.

I thought I'd do a tutorial on mitered corners this morning. I'm sure there are a few different ways to do them, but this is the way I learned, and it's so easy! So, here we go.

Many patterns tell you to cut your borders at least 10" longer than what your quilt top is, when you want mitered corners. Even if you don't need that much, it gives you room so that you have enough. I often don't have extra, or I don't want to cut extra, for this. So I measure real close.

In my example here, my border is 2.25" wide. So when I cut the border fabric, I make sure I added 4.5" (that's 2.25" extra at each end) to how long a side is. This is a table runner, so I had 2 long lenghts, and 2 shorter lengths.

Fold your border piece in half, and mark the middle. Fold your project in half, and mark the middle. Lay your border rights sides together with your project, matching your middle marks, and pin. You can see that I  overlap the project by 2.25" on each side.

Pin all along the border and sew at 1/4". Making sure you START and STOP 1/4" away from each side. Taking a few back stitches.

Find the middle of the next side border and that side of the project. Pin together. When you sew this next side on, be sure to START sewing right where your previous border seam is. That will be 1/4" from the project edge, NOT the first border edge

Pin all along and sew. Making sure to STOP at 1/4" from the next edge.

Continue around your project till all four of your borders are on.

Now, take one corner and fold it over till the top border meets the side border. You want to make a triangle and line the top and side border up.

Here's a close up, sorry it's blurry (it doesn't look blurry on the camera, and I don't realize it is till I put it on the computer).

You want to draw a 45 degree line, from the very corner of your project, to the corner of the border. If you gave yourself more room when cutting the border lengths, then your line wont reach the corner of the border. So make sure you use your 45 degree line on the ruler.

Now you want to pin this, so it doesn't move when you sew. Sew ON the line you just drew. Making sure you start right where your previous seams end at the corner.

Cut off the excess, making sure to leave 1/4"  seam.

Fold open, and repeat for all 4 corners.

And now you have beautiful mitered corners.

If you want to do a pieced border this way. When you are measuring and making your border, you need to remember to add in the width of each border, on each side. So in this case, my pieced border would half to be 4.5" longer, and then a corner of it would be cut off when I mitered the corners.

Hope this is helpful to some of you out there. It really is very easy. The important part is making sure you start and stop a 1/4" away from the edges of the project. In order to have the seams match perfectly in the corners. Very much like set in seams :)

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by.

Till next time,

Copyright D. Lucas, 2011 This is my tutorial. You are welcome to use any of my tutorials for personal use. You are not permitted to use my pictures or my words without linking back to the original and giving me credit for them.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's March already

And those on the forum knows what that means....RETREAT! A quilting retreat for those lucky enough to go. From March 16th to the 21st, in Texas.

It also means a new mystery quilt though, can't wait for that! You can buy your pattern here.

March is going to bring in Spring. And we'll all welcome it with our mug rug swap.  A cute swap full of Spring fabrics.

I can't wait for my roses to start blooming and the wild flowers to start popping up. Right now my rose bushes are looking pretty sad. The cold snow we had the past few weeks has broken a lot of the vines. So once our chance of frost is gone, I'll get the snippers out and trim them up.

We also have a thread challenge going on. There are some very pretty projects in that thread.

But after that is over with.....we are going to start a "It's too pretty to cut" challenge!!! WOOOHOOO! This is a fun challenge/contest. In the past, we've done it with fabric that is...well .... just not our style. But what one person thinks of as Ugly, the next doesn't. So that was a lot of fun. In this challenge, we'll cut into a pretty piece of fabric we've been hoarding, one we just haven't been able to cut up. Look for a thread on the forum for that in the next few weeks.

Well that's what's going on around the forum. Hope you can hop over and spend some time with us.

Till next time...