Wednesday, 21 January 2015

WIP: A Field Guide

Not very exciting...spent some hours chain piecing the squares of my Charm square quilt the other day


Then today rushed a few blocks through


Yep, that never works...noticed that the little square in the 3 bottom blocks is not straight. So obviously need to be a bit more careful and will have 3 blocks to re-do. What a hassle!

Still not sure whether I like this or not...may well turn out to be the biggest flop, however, the fabric is cut and the units are ready to be pieced...too late to change my mind.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social over at Lorna's and also to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Until next time

Karin

Sunday, 18 January 2015

January 2015 FMQ Challenge

As you may have read, QuiltShopgal (formerly SewCalgal) is hosting the 2015 FMQ Challenge. Several design options are given each month to chose from and the task is to make a pillow featuring your design.
This is going to be a long post!

I chose LuAnn Kessi's feather filled heart version for the challenge. Just loved the look of that. I made my pillow 14 inches as I have two pillows of that size that need replacing. For the fabric I used a shot cotton of my favourite colour and my favourite thread, Aurifil 50/2 (No 2460 (red), 2445 (pink), 2134 (gold).

Here is my drawing

I then traced the image onto the fabric using a light box. I am glad that I did spent a bit of time on the drawing because I did not find it that simple to fill the whole heart and had to find my own way of drawing the feathers to fill out the spaces (particularly on the left side) so that I could be sure that the stitching would flow smoothly for me.

Starting the process
Loved stitching the feathers
 As you can see I also marked a grid on either side before I basted the piece.

I have been doing a fair bit of reading and learning lately...if you followed my blog you would have read that I purchased two of Cindy Needham's classes over at Craftsy during one of their Blitz sales. I am going through her class on Wholecloth quilts and was inspired to do one of her grids. This is a simple grid that gives the most amazing texture. While I had learned the cathedral window filler before I have not really used it much and was intrigued by Cindy Needham's way of doing this. She actually stitches the gridlines out first which slightly alters the overall appearance and texture. So, I gave this a go...a bit labour intensive but so worth it.

Here is the cathedral windows design with the gridlines stitched out beforehand

Love this texture

and here is the grid of the cathedral window without the gridlines stitched. The difference in texture is slight, but noticeable.
Cathedral window design
And may I mention one of the things that Cindy Needham had been stressing in her class...not to sweat over the background fillers in terms of the stitches...its the texture that will be noticed, not the stitching. That really stuck in my head and was very helpful...no stress, just very relaxing to follow those lines.

Continued with my pillow yesterday and finished it today.  Put a simple swirl in one corner and then tried another filler that I had seen on Cindy Needham's class: the feather filler. This is a filler that is credited to Leah Day (Freemotion Quilting Project) and I had seen it before but again, never tried it. Was in the mood for experimenting yesterday and just did it to see how easy it is to fill up an awkward shape. Started with just lightly drawing in a spine line and did my feathers on either side keeping them a smallish type size. Then I backtracked and came out with another spine line to fill the next space. If you go fairly slowly and deliberate, stopping to think about where you might want the next spine line and the space that you have to fill, this is actually not very difficult and fills in the space beautifully. Even if you were to make a mistake and have some space left over, you can always backtrack and fill that space in with some additional feathers. Given that this is a tight feather design I don't think you would see this. I must say, I am hooked. Thoroughly enjoyed this filler. Definitely will use this again.

Finished front

So much texture...I love it!
And here is my pillow...had to read up on inserting a zipper yesterday night ...no idea. Managed somehow but definitely need more practice.
Add caption
And another one. I am thoroughly impressed and took lots of photos. This one comes closest to the actual colour.


Can't wait for the next challenge! Have a look at the January linky of the 2015 Freemotion Quilting Challenge over at QuiltSphopgal...some beautiful pillows on display.

Until next time

Karin

Friday, 16 January 2015

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2 And Skipped Stitches

I can see from my blog stats that people are searching for answers on the Pfaff QE 4.2 and skipped stitches.

The machine should not skip stitches during normal straight line stitching so I am assuming that this must be related to FMQ.

Yep, definitely also has happened to me and is a sign that something is not quite right. Here are some basic steps that you may want to try:

1. Change the needle. Even if you have just put a new needle in, it could be that the needle is somewhat faulty. Even brand new packets sometimes have faulty needles.
2. Consider whether you are using the wrong needle for your thread.  As a general rule, I use an 80/12 needle for 50/3 cotton thread. When using 50/2 cotton thread, and doing slow feather work, I generally use a 70/10 sharp needle.
2. Re-thread your machine
3. Clean out the bobbin case

If, after all this you still get skipped stitches check your settings
(it is amazing how many times I forget a few steps when setting up for FMQ)
- have you set your stitch length to zero?
- have you lowered your feed dogs ?
Although these first two steps should not really give you skipped stitches, I always go right back to the beginning of the set up. Then check:
- are you using the 6D Dynamic foot in the 6D Dynamic Freemotion mode?
- are you using an Open toe Springloaded foot in the Spring foot setting? Try using the Springloaded foot in the Dynamic setting because chances are the opening of the foot interferes with the machine grabbing the thread at the right time.
- if using the Open Sensormatic foot lower the pivot height in the settings menu.
- use Magic Genie Bobbin Washers. These are little teflon washers that you just put into the bobbin case. They will lift the bobbin just that fraction to address the timing issue.

- if all fails, take your machine for a service and ask the technician to adjust the timing of the machine

It just so happens that I am  doing some FMQ with the new Open Toe Springloaded foot. I am participating in the FMQ Challenge that Quiltshopgal is hosting. Check it out HERE if you have not already heard about it.  Lots of fun and lots of learning...but more on that at the end of the month when the link up will take place.                           


The new Open toe Springloaded foot requires you to take the shank off which gives great visibility all around. I quite like this foot.

New Open toe Springloaded foot

Settings that I used
As I already am aware that the Pfaff QE 4.2 is somewhat sensitive to the Open toe feet, I placed one of those Magic Genie bobbin washers into the bobbin. This worked fine for the most of it, however I did have about 2 skipped stitches...not a big deal you may think, but if you are in the middle of an amazing feather shape, that does spoil it a bit and is something that I personally find extraordinarily annoying. I then set the presser foot pivot height to -1 which makes the presser foot go down just that little bit lower onto the fabric as it lifts up and down with every stitch. Had no more problems for the rest of the feathers and was quite happy. However, I will mention this at my next service as I do think that needs an eeny-weeny adjustment. I then proceeded to do some other FMQ design in the surrounding area at a higher speed and again experienced a couple of skipped stitches...so now I am changing over to the Dynamic 6D foot for the faster designs, as I definitely did not have that problem with that foot.

Now I better get a move on that FMQ challenge piece as we are already half way through the month. Somehow the new year has just descended on me and I am blissfully disorganised...have not linked up to my usual linky hang outs as I keep missing the days or am doing something completely different. Hopefully by February I will be back into some sort of routine.

Until next time


Karin

Friday, 9 January 2015

A Little Present To Myself

Actually a more biggish present. I purchased another thread box from Aurifil. Yep, could not help myself.


The Basics Collection by Mark Lipinski

Was just a bit sick and tired of finding the right thread...where I live there are only a few shops where I can actually buy Aurifil thread. So I started looking for a sandy type thread for my Charm Square quilt over Ebay but after a while I decided to go for the whole box. Colour matching over the internet was just too tricky. 

I am glad I did...the colours that I had intitially chosen were a slightly different hue then I thought and what I call beige is actually a very light beige in the Aurifil range. Got 2 whites, 4 different shades of beige/sand (Sandstone is the perfect fit), 3 greys and 1 black...together with my other thread box from Aurifil I will not have to buy any new thread for a very long time. Each spool has 1300m of thread, which goes for a very long time...

I am chuffed. These threads came from the US at www.pictureperfectthreads.com . Good service, fast and efficient, it took less than a couple of weeks to get here. A word on threads in Australia. While I am conscious of supporting local business I nearly fell over when I saw the price difference. Even with postage which was not discounted in any way, I did get this thread a good 1/3 cheaper than here in Australia.
Could not believe it...so definitely paid a small fortune for the first thread box that I bought here in Australia.

 If you have not tried the Aurifil thread, give it a go. It is lovely thread, smooth and has a slight sheen to it. There is not a lot of lint which is great as I do a lot of FMQ. I am definitely hooked on this thread.

Karin

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

2014 Finishes

Disappearing Four Patch Quilt

Windmill Baby Quilt

Dresden Plate Table Runner

Finished Cheryl's Quilt (or was this in 2013?)

Finished UFO from 2013

New UFO - still needs binding

Scrappy Squares Quilt - most enjoyable

Fan Purse

99 Hexagons


and lots of FMQ practice







Overall, a productive year...I was actually quite surprised

Karin

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Happy New Year

A belated Happy New Year to everybody.

I was going to blog a bit earlier however worked over the Christmas and New Year period and finally the weekend came...

Well, we are in the midst of a major bush fire here in South Australia (temperatures were over 40 degrees yesterday). Normally this does not really affect us as we live in suburbia, however last night the fire came awfully close. We live on the outskirts of town and my daughter woke us in the middle of the night as she had received a text from a friend. When we went outside the driveway was littered with ash and the smoke was becoming uncomfortable...the fire still being a fair way away but heading towards suburbia. Unreal...the ash reminded me of gentle snowing. Indecision reigned for a while and our electronic gadgets proved difficult in terms of getting accurate information. In the end we dragged out an old radio and listened to the emergency channel all night. Got very little sleep, just listening to the radio and the warnings. Packed a few random things and got ready to leave. By the morning the wind had changed with the fire heading the other way which has caused some devastation in the hills with many houses lost...the radio is still going now in the evening to see whether there is another change of wind. Apparently it is still burning out of control but so far no warnings for our suburb however still very dangerous as they are expecting thunderstorms.

I walked into the sewing room yesterday night trying to think what I should take...could not decide as there are so many valuable things in there, so that I decided not to pack anything from that room. I envisaged me standing there in a panic wasting time with confusion over what to take...so I closed the door.

Anyway, finally finished off my WIP today...yah! This has been a painful process

This should be a very easy quilt to make and normally it would be. The quilt is constructed using 4.5" squares, placing 2.5" squares on either side, sewing on the diagonal and then trimming the seam allowances to 1/4" seam. YES, except this is not how I constructed this...remember me talking about my obsession to use up my fabric? I had won a bundle of bright fabric some time ago, however I only had a Fat Quarter of each of the yellow and green fabrics and was determined to make this work. So I cut out 2.5" HST and carefully positioned them over my white squares, sewing them on the bias and cursing all the way through. Not recommended...while all possible, it was quite cumbersome to align the HST correctly. But here it is...tada, all done and absolutely no fabric left!



I am so happy that this is done. I will now complete my other quilt top and then set up my machine for FMQ.

Have you heard about Sewcalgal's FMQ Challenge? Sewcalgal has changed her blogging platform and can now be found as QuiltShopGal at www.quiltshopgal.com. Check out the 2015 FMQ Challenge...lots of options to participate, share and learn from each other as well as lots of prizes from very generous sponsors. This will be great fun.

Until next time
  
Karin

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas 2014

Can't believe a year has passed. This photo was taken last year in Germany, Moelln - a residence of a puppetmaker in one of those cobblestoned small side streets.
                                   
Wishing everybody a very Merry Christmas and a Quilty New Year.

Karin