Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Latest Craftsy Pattern

Finally getting ahead and feeling a bit more productive.

Check out my latest free pattern, the 'Dresden Plate Table Runner' in my Craftsy Store.

Finally got around to writing up this pattern...had wanted to do this for a very long time.

You will need a Dresden Plate ruler for this...I used the EZ Dresden ruler by Darlene Zimmerman. I did not include templates as I thought that most people would have access to one of these rulers.

Anyway, have a look and let me know what you think.

Most of you would have seen this already, but for those who have not, here is my version
(not the best photos - need to redo them)

Until next time


Monday, 27 July 2015

July 2015 FMQ Challenge

For this month Quiltshopgal presented Paula Reid as the expert FMQ and I chose to complete Option1 for this challenge.

I decided to try myself again at Trapunto, something I have played a bit with in the past but have not quite got the hang of it. I enlarged the stencil provided just a little bit, traced it on the fabric and also marked my grid with my new June Taylor grid marker (easy as). 

Then I went around the outline with water soluble thread having backed it with a fluffy wool batting that I had left over from something.
After carefully cutting away the excess batting behind the wreath (no holes, yah!) I basted the quilt top as per normal, using cotton batting. So far, so good...I decided to use my all time favourite thread, Aurifil 50/2 Mako.
Aurifil 50/2 #1126
This is by far the most fantastic colour I have ever come reminds me of a blue flower (Kornblumen?). It comes from Sheena Norquay's Autumn collection and was the perfect choice for this pillow. Even though I do not usually FMQ with a darker thread, I just had to use this.

The wreath came out a treat...nicely raised and prominent. I went around it twice to make it really pop out, then went ahead and stitched out the grid. This took a long would think that I had enough of grids after all these pillow challenges, but I think I am a bit addicted to them by now. Find it quite therapeutic to just sit there following the lines. Again chose the cathedral window design.
It was quite cold here in Australia over the last few weeks...and I mean, really this took double the time as I could not sew in the evening. Try doing FMQ with very cold hands...just does not work, so I had to wait for my day off and the weekend.

Got there in the end

Close up

Trapunto Wreath

Linking up to the July Linky Party over at Quiltshopgal.


Monday, 20 July 2015

FMQ with the Open Toe Freemotion Spring foot on Pfaff QE 4.2

Busy at work on my next pillow for the 2015 FMQ Challenge hosted by Quiltshopgal. In fact, doing the pillows takes up most of my time. Took the opportunity this month to give the Open Toe Freemotion Spring foot a bit of a workout.

Have not played around that much with it...usually use the Dynamic 6D foot in the Dynamic FMQ mode. No particular reason other than laziness as you do have to dismantle the shank for the Open Toe Freemotion Spring foot. The taking off of the shank is no big deal however when I am swapping and changing between FMQ and piecing I got into the habit of just attaching the Dynamic 6D foot.

This foot of course has nice visibility with the shank being off  (which you can also achieve with the modified ankle on the other foot...see my post about this HERE) and was nice to stitch with, although I feel that it is a tad more temperamental with its wide opening. My settings were:

Spring foot freemotion mode
Needle: 70/10 with Aurifil 50/2 thread
Tension: 3.4  (this varied a bit over the last few days...I swear that the cold is affecting the tension)
Straight stitch needle plate

On the whole it behaved itself and I had only a few skipped stitches which I was relieved about. I think when I first tried it, I had more trouble with that given the opening. In terms of stitching, I would be lying if I said I saw or felt a difference to the other foot (Dynamic 6D). Each stitches equally well. My sense is that the Open Toe Freemotion Spring foot is best suited to slower designs... mind you, I have not tried it on a faster design like swirls where you constantly change the speed of your stitching. Something to try out.

Until next time


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Very slow progress

Still on my WIP: Field Guide Quilt...this is not going to be finished in a hurry as I have chosen to do simple lines in the cross shapes.
Actually quite funny...while doing my FMQ on my pillow for the 2015 FMQ challenge, I strained my eyes severely with all that detailed echo quilting and one of my blood vessels burst in one eye. No big drama even though it always looks quite dramatic, however had to give my eyes a bit of a rest. So, I am going a bit slowly on this and also investigating options.
Had a look around for magnifying glasses that you can attach to the machine, but am not sure. The optometrist suggested getting single focus glasses (with a very short range for really small reading) just for sewing...not sure, the problem does not seem to be that I cannot see, but rather that I am not blinking enough, hence straining the hell out of the eyes. After a while then after getting sore eyes I usually take my glasses off to see better...definitely a no, no as I have found out the hard way.

Also received my Titanium needles and gave them a try. As you can see they come with the gold coating. Don't know whether this is just a visual thing, but the 80/12 needle appears massive. Anyway, starting quilting with one of them and broke it in the first few minutes, as the thread had hung itself up on something. Very funny, I thought. I quilted with the 80/12 for a while, but then switched to the 70/10 Titanium needle as I am more used to that one in size. Can't say that I noticed a lot of difference, however, obviously these will last longer (unless, of course, you break them like I did).

Enough rambling from me for today...really should not be looking at the computer screen too much either.

Will get started on my next pillow soon...


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

June 2015 FMQ Challenge

Yah, I made it with only a few hours to spare until the end of the month.

This months' expert is Diane Gaudynski and I am following option 1 and 4.

To start off with I once again produced a drawing...took me a while until I was happy with it, but in the end I settled on this rather fanciful feather.
It got rather opulent on the sides which seems to almost overpower the stem, but in the end I had to stop drawing and just get on with it...

I traced the design on the silk with an air erasable marker using a light box. While I do follow my lines, people who use the air erasable marker would know that the lines become very faint very quickly. Combine that with the shiny silk and you hardly can see anything.

This is why the drawing is so important...I draw my plumes at a particular angle and at a particular shape, so even if I cannot see my lines a 100%, I can naturally complete the plumes the way I would have drawn them anyway. This was important for this piece as some of the lines faded to nothingness rather quickly. This also meant that I stitched out the whole piece in one go. Would have preferred to do this a bit more slowly, but was not sure how else I could mark the silk.

I used two cotton pieces for my retrospect, one would have been better, I think. The whole thing was just too thick and made the plumes rather stiff. I did try Cindy Needham's suggestion of using cotton and a thin wool layer, but wow...that requires another level of skill. Maybe I 'll try that another day. For now I just want to complete this pillow.

Almost done
Only the grids left to stitch out with the cathedral window design
Close up of the the look of this!

 And here it is, the finished pillow, measuring 16 x16in approximately.
June 2015 FMQ Challenge

Stitched on Silk Dupioni using 100wt Invisafil thread. As you can see the colour of the silk looks slightly different in every photo as I have taken the pictures on different times in the day. The colour of the last photo probably comes closest. First time for me stitching on silk...I am impressed, to say the least.

Linking up to Quiltshopgal 2015 FMQ Challenge.


Wednesday, 24 June 2015

WIP: FMQ on Silk

I am in the midst of working on my pillow for the June 2015 FMQ Challenge over at Quiltshopgal. Fat chance of finishing on time...unfortunately I was out of action for a week and a bit this month. However, so be it, my pillow will probably be a bit late.

I thought I present a bit of a sneak preview of my FMQ so far on this pillow. I am learning so much...haha, and making sooo many mistakes!
First of, I decided to use a double layer of cotton for extra puff...yep, definitely got extra puff but it is a lot harder to work with as it is just puffing out all over the place and any little mishaps are easier to see. I did not have a definite plan for the fillers however did marvel over Diane Gaudynski's echo filler pattern that I saw on her blog. No matter how hard I looked, just could not figure out how she actually does the echoing. In the end I thought...well, this is a challenge, so just challenge yourself and do it! Rather than trying to work out how somebody else does it, I thought about how I would approach this. Started out and followed a 'Divide and Conquer' approach, i.e sectioning off little areas and then filling it in with an echo, stopping in the middle. After the initial first ugly shapes, I quickly picked up on how to make them visually more appealing and kept going. Must say, absolutely loved doing this...even though it looks a bit crazy with the lines being no more than 1/8in apart. Found that it went rather quickly as well and the flattening effect is just out of this world. Brilliant! Actually prefer this to microstippling.

I am doing a bit of mix and match fillers on this piece to keep it interesting, so further down I started microstippling for some transition and then launched into some swirls...but you can see that the irregularities in the lines of the swirls show easily due to the puff I have in the piece thanks to the double layer. Definitely not one of my brighter ideas. I am stitching with a 100 wt Invisafil thread with a 60/8 needle (on the 6D Dynamic Freemotion setting  of the Pfaff QE 4.2). The silk is finicky to work with and frays a fair I was aware of this beforehand, I cut my piece way bigger to allow for that. Stitching on the silk is nice, but it is not as forgiving as cotton...I feel that the irregularities are much more obvious...mind you I have been looking at this the whole day while stitching.

I have got a lot more bulk to tame...hopefully this will turn out. So far I have been able to literally FMQ the bulk out to the sides and have not had any problems. We'll see.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced 


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Warm Up

Preparing for the FMQ Pillow Challenge over at Quiltshopgal.

This is the Dupioni Silk that I managed to get via auction on Ebay. Nice soft green. The above sample was stitched with 100wt Invisafil thread in a matching colour on a cotton batting.

This is going to be interesting.