Sunday, October 30, 2011

My first pictorial quilt!

Here is the finished Coneflower quilt...

The fabrics in the picture are just various things from my stash (for pictorial quilting, you really need tons to choose from). The border is a Robert Kauffman (I think) print that I got in my grab bag. I was iffy about it when I first put it on, but I really love it now. The only things I had to buy for this quilt was the decor bond (a fusible that you put behind the glue-basted picture before you start sewing), clear thread, and gold thread.

The clear thread was surprisingly easy to use. I've heard horror stories, but my machine didn't have any problems with it. I used it in the bobbin for the quilting with the metallic thread, and also in the top/bobbin when doing the zig zag applique of the shapes.

The only thing I do not like about this quilt is how lumpy the decor bond got when quilting. There is no way to not manipulate the quilt a lot- it has to be rolled up or folded to get through the machine. And this is a tiny quilt- it would be even more so if you made a larger one. I think putting all the pieces together like a puzzle using traditional applique techniques would be extremely difficult so the decor bond might just be something I have to live with, but this reminds me I want to go on craftsy and ask about it...

As for craftsy- if you can get the Pictorial Quilting class at $30, I HIGHLY recommend it. Completely worth the money to learn this technique and have the ability to ask questions. However, I don't think it is worth it at full price...

Up next: learning to use my embroidery module. I have an all day class on Wednesday at Pine Needles in Cedar Rapids. I'm a little annoyed about it- the supply list, before purchasing the kits, is a mile long. Then you have to purchase the fabric/stabilizer kits. I have heard that embroidery is a money sucker, so it looks like that is true. But at least this will teach me what I've got, and then I can figure out where to go from there.

I am collecting fabric for the dog quilt. It will be awhile, as I need like 20 different whites...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All glue basted...

This is the back. The next step requires clear thread, so I need to wait to go to the quilt store.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pictorial quilt...

Here is my pattern! I'm going to have to collect a lot of whit and gray fabrics!

The coneflower is now glued.together. I need to pick blue fabric for the sky, and buy clear thread before proceeding...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Start of next quilt...

I'm taking a pictorial quilting class on We are making a coneflower quilt.

She provided the pattern, but the class teaches you how to make your own from pictures. Step one- line drawing, cut it out on freezer paper, and then iron to the TOP of the fabric.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Quilt for Acorn...

This is the weekend of all done! This weekend I finished up two classes (a new one starts tomorrow) and finishing those classes bumps me over the halfway mark for my Master's degree- wah hoo!

To celebrate, I finish piecing the baby quilt I've been working on and spent this morning (I woke up ridiculously early) basting the quilt. I've learned a basting lesson - STARCH!!! I've had a lot of problems with loose backing, puckers in the top and the bottom, and OMG- starch fixes it all. Thank you to all the bloggers who mentioned it. (I also taped the backing to the floor- I actually read a quilt teacher recently who says not to do that, but it worked for me.)

This is also the first time I've used Hobb's cotton batting. The fabric hugged it nicely, making it easier to baste than the cheap battings I've used. It is almost TOO thin for a baby quilt- you want something cushy for babies, but thin quilts seem to be in right now.

Once again- STARCH!!! Do it!

This quilt was inspired by a Fons and Porter TV show the pattern was called Twirling Triangles, and I had to get a Pyramid ruler to do it. I didn't get the pattern, because it was from an old magazine, so I made up the measurements myself (they don't tell them in the show- want you to buy the magazine). The pattern is actually very simple, but I had no idea what a challenge equilateral triangles would be. Please don't look too closesly.
(you should be able to click for a bigger picture if you want to see the quilting)
My quilting plan was to stipple in the hexagons and then put a picture or filler into the purple triangles. This is actually my first time just stippling- it is quite fun. My tip to anyone trying this- have an exit plan. I connected the hexagons together in quadrants, and everytime I entered a new one, it was important for me to pinpoint where I was going to get out of the hexagon- this kept me from ever quilting into corners, and since I always ended off the quilt, it minimized ends.

The fillers I decided on were a flower (easy), a triangle spiral (straight lines are hard, but I think I did okay), and an acorn. It looks like an acorn right? The parents have nicknamed the baby Acorn for now, and are decorating in a woodland theme (hence the back of the quilt).

This quilt is all from - fabric, batting, and thread. Very nice quality, and while quilts are expensive no matter what, I got good prices I think. It is 36 x 38, so on the small side, but can be tucked into a stroller (I hope). I've washed it, so wrinkly quilt photos will come later, probably. (I love the wrinkly look.) For those wondering how the cotton batting shrinks- it started at 39 x 42 (cut down a bit from where it was before I squared it with Kevin's that thing!).

The only negative today: my walking foot was a disaster. I must be doing something wrong, but even after posting photos and a video to quiltingboards, I don't know what. Hopefully a friend will be able to help me Thursday, otherwise I have to drive up to the dealership. It is like the foot sits too far back, so the arm can't hold onto the needle bar. Kevin managed to get it on once (and it worked beautifully, but the needle was striking in the wrong place, then the arm fell off the needle bar, my needle broke, and neither of us can get it on again.) I was almost in tears over this... a $200 foot should not cause this amount of trouble! Thankfully, I finished the binding with my regular foot- it has a few puckers from stretching, but mostly okay. I do love how the Bernina can sew over hugely thick seams with no trouble at all.

In other news, I wanted to share a video. This is my FAVORITE (yes, I'm a simple person) feature on my new sewing machine. The bobbin winder turns itself off!

Breaking into Kevin's workshop...

Quilting rulers are not sufficient for.squaring quilts!

Sunday, October 16, 2011


The baby quilt is now in 4 strips of pinwheels. Look how nicely this one comes together :)
Unfortunately it is next to the worst aligned purple.triangles (so far, with 3 large seams left, there are plenty of mistakes to be made...)

It really surprised me how forgiving the pinwheel were in the alignment. Even the ones that are off look great. The purple triangles, however, are brutal. That is where the mistakes shown
Can't wait to be done piecing so I can quilt.

Once this is done I am going to volunteer to quilt tops made for charity through the guild. I like quilting best.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Peak inside my craftroom...

Making some progress on a quilt for the little acorn my SIL and BIL are expecting in February.

Only a few of the seams are sewn the "triplets". I have to say, triangles are HARD. I don't think many of these are going to be lining up... but the quilt should still be pretty.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mug Rug Swap

If you recall a little bit ago I posted the mug rug I sent out for a swap ("Let it Snow").
Here is the one I got in return.  The theme was fall or winter, and this person was so clever to do it double sided to be both!

Friday, October 7, 2011


The towels I wove a while ago are getting pretty dirty- we use them as our primar kitchen towels, so I wove up some new ones. I think I posted about warping them, but I finished them awhile ago. Since I have the new machine with the pretty decorative stitches, I decided to give them some borders (I mean, when else will I ever use those stitches?)

Aren't they pretty? One of them is already pretty dirty... apparently our kitchen is messy or something...

Here is a close up of the stitches. One nice think about my Bernina, the bobbin side stitches are just as pretty as the top side. My old (cheapo) machine was NOT like that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

New Wave Quilt is done!

My quilt is finished!

The pattern is New Wave. It finished at about 47" x 55". (I lost a few inches while squaring it...). Cutting using the template was a PAIN, so using a tumbler ruler (or a die cut) would definitely be a better idea...

The main fabric is from a discontinued fat quarter set I got from Connecting Threads last Black Friday (I hope they do a half off precut sale again!), and the backing is Thin Ice Frost (which I love as a backing- although my back stitches are quite beautiful, if I do say so myself, they get lost in it and just the texture shows, which is SO pretty- there is a picture later on down. And it was on sale- under $3 a yard is awesome!) I used essential thread in white, about 3/4 of a spool!

The way I quilted this quilt was to stitch in the ditch all the white lines, and then do free motion filler designs in the colored areas. I had some major basting issues that resulted in insane amounts of shifting during the stitch in the ditch part, so I actually had to undo three lines and then re-baste. I should have undone another two and rebasted the orange middle section as well, as when I got to the free motion part, that part is kind of a disaster (the back is filled with pleats, the front, a few). For as much trouble as I had with it (when I decided it was too late to do anything about it), it looks pretty good once it was shrunk in the wash.

The picture I posted a few posts ago with the quilt shoved in the machine shows the way I did the FMQ, I don't roll the quilt, but accordion it together. Here is a picture of me doing stitch in the ditch, I rolled it up, and let it sit on my shoulder (I got the idea seeing someone do it in the documentary "Stitched"). Normally I would have turned it in the middle, but with all the shifting (and the hours of ripping because of it), I wanted everything shifting in the SAME direction. This worked GREAT except the one pin that decided to jab me in the face.

This quilt was a seam ripping nightmare (I have a blister from it.) I undid at least two full sections of free motion when I decided I didn't like how it turned out. First, the whole orange section when I didn't like the design I chose once it was translated to a large scale (and when I realized how badly it was puckering...the orange looks bad now, it looked HORRIBLE then), and then the pink section when rather than quilting across the long side of the quilt (see previous post with picture of entire quilt shoved into the machine) I decided to take a short cut and quilt shortways- well, turns out I can't do the zig-zag design the same from two directions, so that ripped out as well.

As readers of this blog know, I love Leah Day's designs. I've been practicing many of them, on a small scale (though not as small as she quilts). I wanted to try translating them to large scale (so the quilt doesn't stand up on its own), and well, it didn't go too great - I ended up going with "inspired by..." - but I'm happy with that. My original thought was a different design for each section, but in the end, I went with four designs, each used three times.

The first one I tried was Wiggly Woven lines. This is not on the finished quilt. (see above). This is my favorite filler design, and I wish I could have used it. On a smaller quilt, I'm trying again!

Then, I went with Radio Static. I only did 2 sets of lines, And because of the visual orientation across the whole quilt, it just looks like zig-zags! But I like it.

Then, I just wanted a meandering design, and asked Kevin to pick a doodle shape (you know, one of those things girls draw over and over and thus can draw in their sleep) and he said Daisy. I tried to do mostly 5 petal flowers, but also threw in some 4 and 6 petal ones.

I made up my own filler (though I've seen scallops before so it isn't really original), and I call this one "Mermaid Tail".

Finally, I needed a filler to replace the failed Wiggly Woven Lines. I auditioned and practiced about five different designs and settled on Falling Stars, except I made mine a little easier. Instead of worrying about the fill in space, I just echoed the previous design any time I hit it. Her design is more defined than mine is.

I have to say: I LOVE the way the back of this quilt looks in this picture. I think the different fillers give it SO much texture. Almost like the back is a whole cloth design. This is why I really prefer fillers over all over stippling.

I think I am quilting too fast, as my stitches are a little bigger than I'd like, my open toe foot kept getting caught (and then I'd have to rip back and restart) and I broke 4 needles on this one...

The ONLY thing I don't like about this quilt is where the binding joins itself. I went with a few of the unused fat quarters to make the binding, and put them together in blocks. The blocks that join ended up with two different colors: one less than an inch (!), the other just a few inches long. I hate random chance, it never goes my way. I also need a lot more practice binding. It is really uneven on the back.

Up next: either a twin quilt for my Mom or a baby quilt for Acorn. Depends on when Acorn's fabric gets here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wow! That was fast!

I got my new Gidget sewing table! I got it from, and it had a great price, I found a $5 coupon online, and the shipping was free...I did not expect two day, weekend delivery!

The table is a teen bit wobbly, as you would expect a 2 leg table to be, but unlike my old table it does not vibrate or cause my machine to bounce at high speed. It will take some getting used to as the sewing surface is lower, so I need to get used to the eye line, but it should really help my shoulders.

I will review it after a few months of use.

Doing some quilting...

Just wanted to show how much quilt can fit under my harp. No need to pivot and do half the design upside down!