Monday, January 20, 2014

Marital Discord and the Perfect Block

   Red and I have been having some problems lately. Enough so that I threatened divorce yesterday. I had had it. I was almost out of options and truth be known I have had my eye on another machine. Another handsome Japanese native. So I decided to give it another try. We had a long heart to heart and he promised to do better and to work with me if I would just spend a little more time with him. I have neglected him lately. Red:
He's right… here is what happened………..

   I have been working on this from the Moda Bake Shop. Isn't it adorable? It is the Honeysweet Pinwheel quilt by Pauline Francis. Everything was running along smoothly until I finished sewing the half square blocks-which took a while since there are quite a few.

Once I started sewing them together to make blocks our trouble began. things just weren't lining up…my 1/4" was off…he wouldn't sew over bulky seams...….and the more I tried the worse it got. My block was not coming out to the size that it needed to be.

   So I sat down and tried to determine what was happening to make these things go wrong. My first suspect was the foot. I had been using a see through generic 1/4" foot. It had been working well previously but I hadn't had these bulky seams to contend with. It was pushing the top layer around and nothing lined up. So I switched to a foot that has a little bit more of a curve at the toe so it will go over the seams better. I switched to an O2 foot that has the guide snapped off. I hate that thing.
Check. ...That helped a bit with the bulk, but I am not sure I am 100% satisfied with that. I am repressing my seams open as an experiment. That is what the designer suggested. Since I will not stitch in the ditch on this quilt it is an option…but honestly I am not a big fan of open seams-probably because I have never done it. Ha!. They don't feel very secure to me…but I think it is because I do much heavy quilting…I would probably not do the kind of heavy quilting I prefer on open seams. I know they would gape. At least for me, I know this to be true. I could shorten stitch length and I think that would remedy a lot of that, however. So….. I just may rethink my seam preferences on certain quilts. I think there is a place for both depending on what the quilting will be.
  Now to my crummy 1/4".  I got out the tape and did some testing. After a few tries the sample of two pieces of fabric at 1 1/4 each measured perfectly to a two inch sewn together piece so I put a larger line of tape down to guide me. I can't believe I haven't done this before. I get lazy with the side of the foot as a guide and this helps immeasurably-especially with longer pieces.

   Then I tried a different method of pinning also. I pinned a guide pin through the seam (remember it is pressed open) then added two pins on either side to hold the seam in place as I remove the guide pin.

                                       It indeed takes a little longer, but the result is worth it. I think Red and I will stay together a little longer...

Here are a couple of pictures of a baby quilt I recently quilted for a friend. She said they literally made this top in an hour and wanted it to look like snow blowing around the tree. 

Have a happy day today!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

And back to reality……..

 Well, the holiday break ends for me after today. It's back to the lesson teaching schedule tomorrow. That went super fast. And my to do list?……..hahahah It's still a mile long, although I did get to scratch some things off of the list. I always seem to think I will have more time than I do. As if my entire time would be spent alone in my sewing studio. Pipe dreams. We did have a beautiful break, however. Once my last playing job was done Christmas Eve we spent some time lounging around in our pjs for some time. (a few days) ha! I adore those days when it is off time and it is cold outside and we can shower and put the jammies back on. Yep. That's me. Thank God the dh doesn't have a problem with that. ;0)

  I was able to get some sewing done in between family visits and visiting friends. I finished the other baby quilt I was working on. My quilt machine resides in our garage. We did enclose it, but it isn't exactly living space. It is clean enough to quilt a white quilt but it is indeed not spacious. There are other garagey items still in it as well as my space that we carved out. My dream is to have a large studio in the house at some point…but that will most likely require moving. I have a heater but this is what it looks like on a cold day.

   I have no idea what that spill on it is. Probably coffee……looks like it just got added to my immediate to do list. Blech. What IS that? So you can see I have to REALLY want to quilt to be out there. And I DO!  I do!!  :0)   Anyway, here is the quilt in progress and then finished before binding…..I don't think I got a picture of it with the binding on before it went to be given to the new baby. Darn it! 

   My swoon top is also nearing completion. I love this fabric so very much. I had no idea I had such a love of romantic fabrics deep inside me. I usually go for the brighter batiks and prints. Who knew? Now I can't get enough. I have been looking through florals like a fiend now. And Civil War prints. What the heck?

   I will be adding some of the pinwheels as corner stones in the sashing most likely or even as sashings maybe. I am not sure. Then around the quilt as I find I like. We will see what it finally ends up as I go. You can see the back of my poor Bali Wedding Star above it. I really need to put that on the machine and get it quilted. It is earmarked for our bed……but it may be next season before it gets there. heh And the baby quilt is peeking out underneath……I need several design walls……..or maybe just some focus. Yeah, that's it. Focus. 
  How about you? Do you normally have multiple projects going at any given time? I'd love to hear from anyone out there. :0) I hope you are all off to a creative and happy healthy New Year!!!!