Friday, June 29, 2012

Free Motion Quilt Project sewalong #1 and applique

   I have been quilting since 1992, and recently I have been concentrating on the things in quilting that I do not usually do or like.  I realized in this journey that the reason I do not like to do some things, like applique, is because I do not do it well.  I am a bit of a perfectionist and if I can not do it well, I tend to learn it until I do it well, or abandon it.  So I am a great piecer, a great paper piecer, and an all around great sewer.  I send out all my tops to be finished because I do not quilt.  I do not applique, in fact I usually suck my friends into doing any applique that I NEED done. 
   Well enough of that!!  I have been "researching" Leah Day and her Free Motion Quilting Project (bottom on right).  I sat down last week and quilted my first quilt.  Then I meet Angela H.  Visit her blog here.  She posted on Leah's FB page that she was going to start the sew along the next day!!  So I shouted right out at her and now I have a FMQP buddy!!  She made her's on Monday and I couldn't wait to get in there Tuesday.  Now for those that do not know how it works, we get a sandwich of quilt and practice what she tells us to do.  I have learned that my stitches are not too bad, my fluid movements need a lot of work.  I am still putting some tension on my needle, but it was a lot better.  I did my sew along in red thread, so we could see it better.  I also used the elastic method for stretching it out, that worked out really well.

I like to end with something I ma good at.  I am not good at the big scale, but I do the small scale much much better!

After I finished that up I went on to a quilt that I had made a while ago.  I decided to do the jelly roll race.  I was not really happy with the fabric in the end, and in fact called it the most ugly quilt I have ever made.  I concluded that a big ugly flower would make it a mot nicer.  Applique, remember, I do not do that.


I was outside the other day in the rain.  Today was the first time the sun has been out in a week.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oliver & Leah Day **** An amazing resource

   I only started blogging a number of months ago.  While on someones blog they mentioned the Free Motion Quilting Project.  I tracked the link down and started my stalking!!  I have spent so much time watching Leah Day's videos and reading as much as I can on her website.  I eat at a sandwich shop because they have wi-fi and I can watch her.  I even took a refresher machine quilting class at the Christmas Crab Quiltery to get me started again.
   I have been making excuse after excuse on why I was not practicing machine quilting.  I don't have a table for my machine, I want a new machine.  I then went to needing a stitch regulator, that will assure perfect stitches.  Oh and I need a new desk, but not until I get my new machine.  Excuse after excuse.  Still no practicing.  Then I was watching one of Leah's video and her young fella said "Stippling, nothing to be afraid of, now lets go quilt!"  Out of the mouths of babes!!  He is so cute!!
   So first things first.  I have been a great student of everything Leah says.  I adjusted my free motion foot for my machine and I have had excellent luck with it.  My husband bent the pin and cut out the bottom of my foot so I can see better.  The elastic fills in the space so my foot is not too high or too low.  It just makes sense.  Here is her video. 
So I need to get set up.  Here it my set up.

I do not drop (or in my case cover) my feed dogs either.  I used another technique that Leah teaches. 
0 means they do not move my fabric backwards.  They still go up and down but do not push at all.  Her video on that is here.

Oh, I forgot to tell you why I am setting up!!  I have the cutest little nephew, Oliver.  He is going to be one year old next week.  I decided to make him something quick, but cute. 

I was given this cute Moda panel for hosting the retreat a couple years ago.  I decided it would be perfect.  I cut it apart and added the inside just for contrast.  If I would of thought of it I would not of done it, because it just made it wider than width of fabric!! His parents are into moose and as my blog title may suggest, so am I.  I was really looking for something that I could really practice quilting with.

So I laid it on the kitchen floor and pinned it together.  I bought a polyester batt by mistake but learned that night that Leah recommends them for machine quilting.  I also used polly thread on the top because that was all I had green in.  I did use Aufil on the bottom and my machine did not dislike it.  So off I go.  I started quilting around the animals, and the rocks and the treeline.  My efforts was not the greatest.  Here is my first moose.

 When she was young she had a stick go into her leg, which gave her a sore knee!!

Her baby was quite choppy!!  I figured out here that I do not quilt backwards well.  Need to pay more attention to that.

And then suddenly I was rocking.  This is fun.  How about some grass, that would look different and I can practice my herky jerky stitches.  They look pretty good!!  On to the middle.  That check should quilt well.  WRONG!!  I was fighting with the left hand side.  Now I am thinking that a larger throat plate would be really fantastic.  Maybe more important then a stitch regulator.  I did so much better after I slowed down.

It was about now that I realized that something was not working.  I seemed to have these big jumps when I raised my needle.  I was trying to go quick and it was too late and the stitch was in.  Why is that??  I actually stopped and thought it all over.  I had tension on my needle,  I needed to move the fabric more before I started.  The fabric was shifting as soon as the needle was free.  After I got that understood it never happened again.  Another lesson learned.  And what a bad place to stop, I know better, stop in the middle!!

But my stitches are not totally hideous!!   They are getting a bit more consistent!!
I did not go over every line here.  I looked it all over and decided that I could get away with this.  I think I broke thread once to make it.

On to the trees.  I decided to do them last so I could deal with any stretching I may have.  I decided to thread paint the trees.  I wanted to give it some details and texture in that area of the quilt.   And it also gave me a great way of trying to travel on the line.  I went over each line forward and backwards.  What a great way to practice traveling.  I know this is the key to successfully completing a lot of machine quilting patterns.  I must admit that I was tickled with my success.  Now I am getting consistent stitches and traveling and staying pretty close.  If I go out of the line, in this quilt, who cares!!

When it came off the machine I was all smiles.  I only have one pucker in the back of the quilt, not bad.  And when I took pictures of it, it is still hard to see so I skipped it here.  I did have an issue with extra fabric between the trees and the middle check part.  There is nothing that looks bad, but if I had done more quilting in that area I would have. 

So my mind wanders, why??  I look it all over and the light comes on.  I did not stretch the backing out enough.  It is flannel and I just taped it down.  I really did not stretch it.  Another lesson learned.  I went to Leah's website and read how she stretches her's and run out and bought a whack of elastic for my next project. 
On to the binding.  I learned a new way of putting binding on.  You do all of the sewing on the machine.  I seen it at a quilt meeting in Keswick, but I still did not get it.  Even better, we are doing a demo thru program at guild this year on how to do it.  So I went to You Tube and typed in binding by machine and got the Missouri Star Quilt Co demo on how to do it.  Here it is.  The part that I had been missing was that you sew it onto the back and then pull it to the front.  Very important for my visual.  I recommend pressing it before attaching it to the front. 

The front went well, but to my surprise the corners did not look good on the back.  You follow the stitch line on the front and I was more worried about the miter then the sewing line.  Another lesson learned.  I am learning sooo much with this quilt. 

I was really amazed at how much thread I used.  I had never thought of it before.  I ended up using 2 small Metler spools on the top alone.  No big deal, but |I need to remember if I am ordering matching thread.   Now I do tend to think ahead.  I must mention that if you are going to use this binding method, remember to sew your label into the back as you apply the binding.  I did remember.

  Finished.  Not perfect by any means.  Completion is better than perfection anyway!!  But this can be a quilt that Oliver can lug around with him.  He will never notice that the moose has a sore knee.  He will never notice the binding stitches on the back are off the sewing line.  He will cuddle under his quilt and rub his snotty nose on it when he doesn't feel well.  Thats why I made it.  It is amazing how many things I have learned about machine quilting with this one project.
   And it is amazing how much I have learned from Leah Day.  She is such a resource on the internet with endless education.  Not only does she teach the stitch, she will help right from the beginning.  Her videos on each stitch gives me the visual that I need to try it.  Her calm voice entered my head over and over again when I was quilting.  I am so excited that I have found her and I am excited to get to the first quilt along she has, stippling!!  Thank you so much Leah!!
   Until the next stitch!!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Caught in the sewing room

I was in the sewing room bright and early this morning.  I slept for 12 hours last night!!!!  So I was up with the birds and thought I could get some quilting done before work.  Thursday is the day that my wonderful house keep comes to visit me, everyone should have one!!  We call it the magic of  Donna day!!  In she comes, I say Hi but still stay at my machine.  She comes and takes to laughing like a crazy woman.  She said I looked kind of funny.  So she grabbed a couple of pics.  What do you think??  Ever quilt in your house coat??
She said I looked like Barney!!!!
Until the next stitch!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Threaded Moose PAper Piecing Class - SUCESS!!

As most of my readers know, I was asked a while back to teach a beginner's paper piecing class at my local quilt store, Christmas Crab Quiltery.  In preparation for the class, I designed and published an original pattern for a table runner.  Sales of the pattern have gone well. 

 The Shop made a beautiful spot to show off my class.  If this didn't convince them, then nothing was going to !!!!

So last Saturday the class was on.  I was very impressed with how quick my 3 star pupils picked up on how to paper piece.  I loved to see the block I designed in different fabrics.  One girl made hers the same as the sample I made!!!!  Talk about flattering :P

This is Bonnie Sproul.  She chose "Christmas" fabric.  I love that this "Christmas" fabric does not scream the season at all!!!

This is Ellen.  I love that she chose to make it in Bali fabrics.  I love bali fabrics!!

And then there is Shirley!!  She decided she wanted to make hers the same as my sample.  And she came to the class with one block finished.  I taught her to paper piece a long long time ago.  In fact I think I taught her before I knew what I was doing!!  So I had to re teach her, the right way!!

What a great experience!!!  Thanks Red Quilts for stopping in with your camera and taking these pictures!!
Until the next stitch!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Machine Quilting class

I took a machine quilting course a while back.. Dangerous stuff.  I have been dreaming ever since.  We had our class, then we were invited back for some practice.  I realize that I am not good at keeping those stitches even.  Practice!!  I also am now not sure what my dream machine is anymore.  I am contemplating if the stitch regulator, that is only on Bernina's, is worth the $.  Would I do more machine quilting if I was better at it?? 
So here is a couple picture of how my practice went.

While I was looking around the shop, I saw this on display.  Thread painted moose!! 

Until the next stitch!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Paint Chip Challenge

Guild was Monday night, but I was unable to attend.  So that means that this paint chip challenge is over for me and it is time to show you all of the  pictures.  For those that do not follow my blog, let me explain.  Our guild gave us 3 paint chips, various colors and I am thinking they are random.  With these paint chips we were to find fabric the same colors, and make something with it.  Here is my paint chips and the fabric I found.

Two are Jenny Beyer fabrics, the orange is not :)
I found a paper pieced pattern that I liked.

 Four of these blocks make one block

And four blocks make this:

And for binding??  Gotta use up that orange :P
 I quilted it myself, something that I am just getting into :P

And everything must have a label, so here is mine
Until the next stitch!!