Wednesday, 25 November 2015

From Idea to Actually Getting It Down On Fabric

Working on the November 2015 FMQ challenge that is held over at Quiltshopgal. I am using the Accuquilt GO die "Heatherfeather" from Sarah Vedeler for this challenge ...finally! (purchased this over a year ago and have not used it yet)

Here is the idea

All cut out and ready to go. As I used two different colours I had enough to make an identical second arrangement for the back but then started playing around a bit with the leftover shapes
This little arrangement looked nice however after having used up some of those shapes to practice my applique skills on (which were very rusty indeed), I settled on another arrangement for the back.
Had a lot of fun playing around with this...there are many different arrangements you can come up with from this one die.

Spent quite some time sharpening my skills using the satin stitch around the applique shapes and also finally conquered the tapering function on my machine (see previous post)

Applique for the front of the pillow all done

Arrangement for the back of the pillow
This has taken me a very long time and was a lot harder than I had anticipated...mainly because I do not do applique very often. The first few shapes that I practiced on looked fairly rough and I realised that I had to literally go... stitch...move over a bit...stitch...move over...there was no way of hurrying this along if you wanted to get the curves nice and round.

I am now at the stage of stitching around it with a 100wt Invisafil thread (my new favourite thread replacing the clear Monofilament thead) and then finally I can get cracking on the freemotion-quilting. I am thinking plumes for the background fill in a blend in neutral thread to give it texture. Have recently bought Patsy Thompson's new Craftsy class " Ultimate Free-motion Feathers" which is full of FMQ goodness including a section on "plumifying" the background. Highly recommended!

Remains to be seen whether I can finish this in time.

Linking up to Freemotion By The River


Saturday, 21 November 2015

Craft and Quilt Fair

Spent the whole day at the Craft and Quilt Fair a couple of weeks ago.

Had a list of things I wanted to purchase however could not find lots of the things that I was after...will have to make some Internet purchases there was no stand with Aurifil thread!

As always lots to see and try out. I specifically spent some time at the sit down midarm machines...unfortunately here in South Australia there are currently only two available...the Handiquilter Sweet 16 and the new Bernina Q20 (I think that is the name). Both stitched fantastically well, of course and all I can say is...I want one! It is actually not so much the space around the side of the machine that I am after, but more the height of the machine. When freemotion-quilting on the DMS, I do sort of hunch over and look on the side to see where I am going. With the set up of the midarms there is visually very little distraction and the height allows you to see clearly where you going and where you are coming from. Very nice indeed! Will have to think some more on this...

Anyway, here are my purchases for the day...

Bought this beautiful Robert Kaufman panel (Imperial Collection) for half price. Normally I do not go for the panels however this caught my attention as there is heaps of empty space to fill in with some detailed FMQ.
I am thinking concentric circles or maybe cannot see it properly in this photo but the beige top part has the same faint cranes as in the black background...oh, the fun...this will be great!

Very excited about this.

Also bought a range of blue fabrics (and some mustard tones just because)
Working on blue hexagons at the moment in my spare time so this will keep me going for a while.

Picked this for the November FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal.


Thursday, 12 November 2015

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2: Tapering

Finally getting around to write about tapering on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2

Tapering lets you decrease or increase the width of a stitch at a particular angle to create symmetrical or asymmetrical tapers. This is a fun program that I also had on my previous machine...
see the little bag that I made some years ago.

It is a fun thing to play with but takes some time to get used to and get the hang of it.

For my next pillow for the 2015 FMQ challenge over at Quiltshopgal I decided to use my Heather Feather Accuquilt die (design by Sarah Vedeler) that I purchased a good year ago. As Sarah Vedeler is this months' expert this seemed like the perfect opportunity. When I made the bag above, I had instructions from the Pfaff site...must admit that I have not used this function since then as I hardly do any applique work.

So out came the manual...
This is what the screen looks like when you hit the F1 button and then long press on one of the angles which brings up the whole program
Now I remembered that I had some difficulty last time with working out the different directions of the angles and this time was no different. I decided to spent some time on this to get my head around it once and for all. The way this made sense to me is as follows
- the top row provides for asymmetrical angles to the right
- the middle line is for symmetrical tapers at various degree, i.e. your sewing comes to a point
- the bottom row provides for asymmetrical angles to the left
If you look at my sample (top left) and take the first taper at 45degrees that is marked 'top' for the top row, you would go into the program and press 45 degrees once only for the taper at the end. As you can see you would be stitching along and then press the reverse button to activate the taper and the machine will taper the stitch at a 45 degree angle. If you then set your beginning taper at 45 degrees and turn your piece at a 45 degree angle and start again you will get a perfectly aligned corner to the right. Very neat!

You can see I then did a 60degree symmetrical taper, another 45degree taper to the left and so on...also tried the 30 degree taper on the right side of my sample but that takes some practice to align properly. The other thing I wanted to show you is the versatility of the can be used on many of the decorative stitches and create quite spectacular designs, i.e. the Greek Key stitch that also featured on the bag above (now some of those tapers do not line up because of pure sloppiness on my part).

Some people have commented on the net re the tapering and how hard it is to judge distances, i.e. when you should start your taper.  Agree with certainly takes some practice and knowing how this works. For example, the Greek Key design in the middle. I started with the beginning taper at 45 degrees, then the machine moves on to the next stitch and that is when you have to press the reverse button, i.e. you need to be clear about when you are on the stitch before the taper. For some of the stitches this will be easy to see however like for the Honeycomb or the stippling stitch it will not be as obvious.

Just discovered that I can get the machine to help me with that by using the Sequence function. If you look at the far right side I stitched out the Honeycomb stitch with tapers at each side. I went into the Sequence program and decided that my stitch would consist out of 6 units of honey comb. I then put a Stop behind each of the six units (I had 3 of them). When stitching this sequence, I started with the beginning taper and when the stitch reached my 6 units, it stopped. Then did the next 6 units and activated the taper, as I was in the stitch before the taper, stopped again and did the last tapered down version of the Honeycomb...while a bit labour intensive, this certainly helped in working out exactly where I was and when I had to press the button...will play a bit more with this.

Anyway after all this, I managed to stitch down my plume shape with the 60 degree symmetrical taper
Not totally lined up but it worked very well, just needs a bit of practice. With the satin stitch you do get a feel for when you need to start activating the taper.

And here is what I am working on

Hope this helps


Friday, 6 November 2015

Still Doing Bags

Finished another one of those excellent Victoria Tote bags that I did in September (find two of the posts HERE and HERE)

Well, had some of that nice modern zigzag fabric left over and promptly finished another bag, this time a size in between as the last bag got a bit very roomy. This time I enlarged the original pattern by just an inch. That just left enough for the handles and a little piece for some additional pockets inside.

Used this very nice french inspired fabric for the lining
Had only bitses of fusible fleece left , so I started to piece them together as I was too lazy to make a trip to the shop. I do this with wadding, so saw no reason why this should not work with fusible fleece.
Piecing the fleece together worked absolutely fine
Put a zipper pocket in and the magnetic closure like in the original bag and then included some pockets on the other side using the last of the zigzag fabric.

Here is the finished bag

Came out very cute and will be claimed by my other daughter in due course.

I think that might be it for a while in the bags department...will need to get going on my next pillow for the November FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal. Bought some nice fabric at the local quilt show for this...

Until next time


Wednesday, 28 October 2015

WIP: A Field Guide

Back to this...

Decided to quilt a simple line design in the surrounding areas
Looks great, but wow...this is going to take me a long time. Running out of thread in a minute too, so will have to wait until the Quilt Show next week to stock up on that particular colour.

While doing this and getting very bored I thought about the next thing (of course)...
This design is from Cindy Needham's Craftsy class on 'Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts', the idea being that you take what you like from this and design your own center medallion. I have got it enlarged and ready to go...this could be good and certainly would stretch me out a bit...

But before this, I am going to make another bag...still not over that bag obsession...

Too much to do...need to get going on the myriad of projects hanging around.


Wednesday, 21 October 2015

October 2015 FMQ Challenge

Completed my pillow for the October 2015 FMQ Challenge over at Quiltshopgal.
Already talked a bit about the process in an earlier post HERE.
October 2015 FMQ Challenge
Different colour due to daylight, but same piece (still missing the cathedral window)

This months' expert is Lori Kennedy from The Inbox Jaunt and I followed Option #2 using Lori's 'Divide & Conquer' Craftsy class. As there were too many designs to choose from, I decided to do a sampler pillow of some of the designs. By now I have got quite a list of Craftsy classes and this was a good way to quickly remind me what's in the class. These are the designs I used from the class:

Paper Clip design: absolutely loved this; cute little design to frame something or put into a narrow inner border
Square Flower: this appealed to me as it could just be stitched out freehand and looked good no matter how wonky you stitched it;
Dots & Dashes: with just a few lines drawn, this is a nice modern fill
Flower Power: had trouble with this design when I last stitched it, and included it for more practice in this piece, filling out a 6" space
Hearts: formalised hearts in a row is something that I have avoided in the past as I am not that great at it; this time I marked half inches spaces in my section and that worked alright;
Ric rack: again marked some spaces but had some issues with this even though it only involved going up and down
Fabulous Flower: what a hoot...practised this on paper for a while and in the end I just stitched it out as I was not going to get any better at it; funny...the eye only sees what the eye wants to see. Initially I thought that my flowers looked sort of alright, but when I had flattened the area around it, I saw that all of the flowers except one, did not look like flowers at all. So, yep, suck at that design.
Lines: finished the bottom off with some lines
Gridwork: could not help myself and included my favourite grid, the cathedral window, in there

For the back of the pillow I choose to stitch an overall flower design to match the front; I did this fairly quickly and did not stress too much about consistency or scale or indeed anything...just wanted to get a feel for filling a larger space with that as this could make a nice larger scale, allover design. This worked reasonably well and was best stitched with the foot on the pedal. When I stitched slower, I tended to become smaller and smaller...
Really like the back of my pillow

As always, this was good fun!

Linking up to the October 2015 FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Progress Report

Working away on my pillow for the October FMQ Challenge hosted by Quiltshopgal. This month expert is Lori Kennedy from The Inbox Jaunt.

I have her Craftsy class 'Divide and Conquer" and decided to follow this and make a sampler of the different designs. Almost finished the front
Done some gridwork (not completed yet), paper clip design (which I loved), a heart design, the square flower, some pearls, more flowers, loops, ric rac and today the fabulous flower design. Well, the fabulous flower design on the bottom did not work out that well. Trying to follow someone else' drawing is always hard and I did practice this one on paper for a while, but somehow I could not get the flower shape right. The design is stitched in several passes and apart from the last flower on the right my wonky shapes are oddly consistent (looks actually like a chuck's head), so it seems that I just do not get it somehow. In the end I had to microstipple the fullness out of  the surrounding area and you can see that it is trying to puff through in parts.

Never mind, this has been good fun...we can't be great at everything! Not sure yet what I am going to do on the back, maybe an overall flower design...we'll see.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Sew Fresh Quilts
Until next time