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Archive for the ‘Crafts’ Category

July Sewing

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

After I set up the Bernina, I decided to do a few simple sewing projects. I started by recovering all of the pillows in our living room with a 5-yard bundle I got at the International Quilt Festival in Chicago and a couple of yards of coordinating fabric I picked up at JoAnn.

Next I tackled the Margaret Sling Bag from Oh, Fransson!. I cut the strap on mine 50″ long and kept the middle and ends the same size as the pattern. I had to cut mine in two pieces and seam it because of the length. I was still able to do it with less fabric than specified in the pattern.

Recently, I saw some Christmas fabric I really loved. I couldn’t think of what I would do with it, but then I remembered how much I love the pillow cases my mom made for me and Brian (astronomy and circuits). I bought 2 yards of the main print, 1 yard of the cuff print, and 1/2 yard of trim fabric. That was more than enough to make two pillow cases with these instructions. I cut the cuff fabric incorrectly and ended up with an extra seam. I’m also not sure if I totally understand how to handle the corners of the French seams, but so what – there are a couple of tiny spots on the inside that might ravel. Overall I’m very happy.

Next I’m hoping to continue working on the Stars of Avon quilt I started several years ago and stalled on.

Bernina 440 QE

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

I inherited a wonderful sewing machine from my mom.  I look forward to using it on some quilting projects.  To begin with, I’ve just been sewing to get used to it.  I have learned a few things, and I thought I might post about them in case anyone out there is searching the web for help.  I did a few searches of my own, and read the manual through a few times before figuring this stuff out.

  • The hand presser foot raising/lowering lever is in the back of the machine.  This is slightly different from the Elna I used to use, which had a presser foot lever that was on the right side of the needle and a little more visible.  I had to call Mom about this – duh.  I was trying to use the knee lever, but the knee lever won’t hold the foot up unless you keep it pressed (as far as I know).
  • To go in reverse hold the “U turn” button down for a second or so until it beeps.  Hold it down until it beeps again to go forward again.
  • To get “needle stop up/down” hold down the needle up/down button for a second or so.  It will NOT beep, but you will see the indicator on the screen switch the up or down carat next to the needle.
  • If you find your machine skipping stitches when you are sewing on a quilt sandwich, you may need to drastically increase the pressure foot pressure using the dial on the left side of the machine.  I am currently sewing through a fold in a purse that has multiple layers of fabric, interfacing, and interlining.

I think this is a very nice machine, but we are still getting to know eachother.  The index in the manual is fairly useless unless you know EXACTLY the right words to search for.  I’ve read the manual from cover to cover a few times by now, so I’m getting used to where to look for things, but I still have to internet search on some things.  The needle up/down thing stumped me for a little while.  I just figured out the presser foot pressure thing on my own (as far as I can tell the manual says nothing about increasing it for multiple layers of fabric or quilting).

I guess it is worth adding that I’m sewing with the walking foot, feed dogs up, not really quilting.  I’m just sewing a very large sandwich of fabric, interfacing, and padding.  I expect to be able to lower the presser foot pressure when I’m free motion quilting or this isn’t going to work very well.

It took a combination of increased presser foot pressure and increased top thread tension to get my sandwich looking good.  I guess I’d advise anyone with problems to try rethreading the top thread and bottom thread, play with presser foot pressure, and play with top thread tension.

Vacation and quilts…

Friday, April 30th, 2010

I haven’t written much about our trip yet because we were working out the kinks of where to put the photos. Anyway, on our trip to the Grand Canyon I noticed that the book shop was selling the printed quilt panels for the National Parks and even had a little sample quilt there. That’s very cool to see. We first saw these printed panels at the 2009 AQS show in Des Moines. I bought two packs of four Halloween ladies (all 8 are different). Mom bought some too, but I don’t remember which ones. I haven’t done anything with the ladies yet, but I have some pumpkin fabric I’ll be using.

Pillows, maybe?

Here’s a link to the site that makes and sells the quilt blocks: Olde America AntiquesGrand Canyon quilt blocks.

Here are the ones I bought for Halloween: Halloween 2 and Halloween 3

Quilt Show

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Immediately before leaving on vacation, I went to the International Quilt Festival in Chicago with my mom and mother-in-law. We were all disappointed to hear that this is the last year it will be in Chicago. I’m not sure if we can go anymore since it will be in Cincinnati, which is nearly as far from here as Paducah. Neither one is a day trip like Chicago. :(

I found some good stuff. I bought two 5 yard packs of coordinating fabrics. I intend to make placemats, pillows, and some gifts for people. For some reason I was attracted to a fabric pack with chickens and forks and spoons – I still don’t know why, but I think it will make nice placemats.

I also bought a yard of pumpkin fabric to use with some printed fabric panels of witches that I bought at the show in Des Moines last year. Maybe I can get my butt into gear and do something with them before Halloween.

I bought a green patterned sarong. I’m still not sure if I will use it as a table cloth or what, but I like it.

I also found a copy of Australian Homespun magazine that I was very excited to see. I found a quilter/designer’s blog with a very cute kids quilt pattern, which was unfortunately only published in the Australian magazine. I could have ordered a back issue, but it seemed like a lot of work. I never expected to see it in Chicago, but there it was for $10 – and I bought it!

I see now that the designer has announced that her pattern is available on her website ($18) and at some stores with a couple of bonus pillows. Very cute. I have no idea when I will ever do this, but maybe someday I’ll have a kid who wants a monster quilt.

Little Monsters Pattern

Cross Stitch

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

One of the crafts I remember doing as a teenager is cross stitch. I did a rose bookmark and a scissors case with a little heart and two leaves. I started an angel (only did about 20 stitches of her skirt), and some shells (kind of ugly). I remember doing a horse, but I have no idea what happened to that. I guess that phase was after sewing doll clothes and pillows and before quilting and knitting. Somewhere during high school, I think, I lost my taste for cross stitch. I think it has to do with the last project I started. I can’t find a link to it, but it’s a tabby cat on a patterned rug. It’s probably 11×14″ when finished – solidly covered with stitching. Somewhere in all that tabby, with blended stitching (one strand of each color on the needle at a time), I lost my taste for cross stitch. That pattern is almost 100% blended stitches. Argh! No wonder. I made myself pick it up again to decide if I could really stand to start cross stitching again, and I decided that I could.

One day I saw this pattern for the twelve days of Christmas with art by Jim Shore. Don’t ask me why, but I decided I like it and somewhere along the way I also promised to stitch it for my mother and mother-in-law. Eesh. So after testing my commitment on the tabby cat (still only maybe 1/4 done), I decided to move on to the real goal.

I don’t know who to thank, but BLESS YOU, dear pattern creators, I haven’t seen a single blended stitch yet. All the color shading is done with slightly varying shades. But… there are BEADS. So – many – beads. What have I gotten myself into? So far I’m 1/2 done with the partridge a pear tree. I’m enjoying it, thank goodness.

Why can’t I start any little projects? I suppose it’s nice that this one is subdivided into 12, so I’ll get a little sense of accomplishment when I finish each square. I thought these things were going to be ornament sized, but I didn’t read carefully enough. Each square is over 6″/side, so I’ll have to figure out something else to do with them. Christmas quilt?


Saturday, January 30th, 2010

I tore these mitts back so many times I lost count, but today I finished the second one (after ripping a whole mitt because it was too loose). Still not perfect, but good enough for me!

Pardon the feet…. I’m too lazy to crop.

Music Purse

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I made a velvet purse before I went to Indiana in November, but I was very unhappy with it. I made the pleats too big and the opening was too small, and the lining was black so it was impossible to see inside. Blech. I’m SO HAPPY that I took the time to redo it – this time with bead trim and white lining with music notes. It will be perfect for these holiday quartet gigs I’ve got coming up.

Pagoda Wall Hanging

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I bought the center panel over 2 years ago and finally found enough border prints that I liked. Of course, I only bought fat quarters, so I didn’t have enough to simply use the four colored prints for a border without piecing the borders in some way. I decided to insert these off-white blocks, and I like the look. I think the border almost looks too strong for the center panel in these pictures, but I think the metallics are glaring in the photo and washing out the center panel.

I plan to machine quilt this on a regular size machine – so I’ll tell you how that goes.

Halloween Weekend – Des Moines

Monday, November 9th, 2009

My mom and I went to a quilt show in Des Moines the day before Halloween. It was a pretty good show. The organizers did a great job. There were plenty of places to sit down. Food choices were dismal, but at least there were places to sit. The show was bigger than the Madison one and smaller than the Chicago one. The vendors were different – I was afraid it would be more of the same. Overall, I saw less country and more of the kind of stuff that I like. Yay. There were a lot of quilting machine vendors there, which I’m not so interested in right now. My mom likes to visit Hinterberg’s booth, so it’s good that they were there.

Des Moines is FAR AWAY from Madison. It took a good 5 hours, I think… maybe more. Dad decided to go, so he drove. The hotel I picked was a poor choice (just a little old). The Perkins where we had breakfast knows how to get the hash browns crispy :) I am not a fan of the Iowa Beef Steakhouse where we had dinner. It was the worst salad bar I’ve ever seen. The steak was good – but for the price I expect a better salad bar!

There is a show in Des Moines again in October 2010, so I’ll probably go. I didn’t buy much, but I did get inspired to do some things. That’s worth the trip.

My parents’ car has a sensor that tells if the tires are at less than 20 psi or something, and one of the sensors was going off. Dad took the car to a shop and found out there was a nail in the tread near the sidewall, which the shop would not patch. We had to leave a little early to drive to Cedar Rapids to get a tire on our way home. Nothing like a little excitement!

Gathered Pullover

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

I’ve been knitting myself a sweater from the yarn I got for my birthday. Here are some progress shots. I’m really excited – I think it will be nice when it’s done. I still need to finish the back, sleeves, and neck. If it rolls too much I may have to do something with the hem.

Dragon really loves the wool yarn. I left the sweater spread out for a minute and he immediately jumped on it, and after I put the sweater away he pawed at the surface it had been sitting on and now he’s laying there. Maybe I’ll make him a toy from the leftovers.