May 25, 2009 2 comments

Family stuff calls,

and so I must take a break for a week or so.

I leave you with this for inpsiration:



And I'll be back soon.

Kit
May 21, 2009 3 comments

Free motion quilting

In addition to this blog, I also have a journal at another site, and someone there asked me how to free motion quilt. Although I am certainly no expert, I offered her what I’ve learned so far, and other people seemed to find it helpful, so I thought I would offer the same “tutorial” here.

1. If your machine doesn’t have one already, buy a darning foot or embroidery foot – they look like some variation of this Photobucket and are not expensive.

2. Lower the feed dogs on your machine. If you don’t know what they are (I didn’t when I first started machine quilting!) here’s a picture of the
Photobucket throat plate. The “feed dogs” are the little teeth under the presser foot (the thing that holds your fabric down). Your machine may have an automatic button to lower and raise your feed dogs, other machines are manual. On one of my machines, it’s a toggle switch next to the bobbin case, and on my other machine, it’s a toggle switch at the back and underneath the machine. Your instruction manual will tell you where and how.

3. Before you actually start quilting your quilt, I would practice (and practice and practice (!) ) on small pieces of batted fabric – potholder sized should do it. Just lower your presser foot and go to town. You’ll know that you’ve got it figured out when your stitches look the way you want to them to. Just keep moving your hands in the shapes and swirls you want. Try drawing a pattern on the fabric and following it, or following a pattern already in the fabric until you feel comfortable. Photobucketcomfortable.

4. I’ve found that machine quilting is counter-intuitive for me. You have to run your machine quite fast (much faster than you’ll probably feel comfortable doing); and move your hands slowly. If you’re moving your hands too fast, you’ll end up with stitches like this: Photobucket

Big and loose looking. If you’re a hand quilter and this is your first time machine quilting, you’ll be horrified! *w* On the back, your stitches may look like this:

Photobucket

*ack!* I took a beginner machine quilting class and brought that as an example of what kept happening to me (I was insanely frustrated because no amount of futzing with tension, stitch length or even bobbin tension helped. She told me that it was because I was moving my hands too fast, and lo and behold, she was right.)

This is an early example of my moving my hands too fast (on the right), next to an example of me moving my hands slowly (on the left):

Photobucket

You can really see the difference!


6. When you’re comfortable and can consistently get the stitch length and tension you want, you’re ready to move on to your quilt! After you’ve batted and pinned your quilt (if you’ve used straight pins before, you may wish to switch to safety pins unless you’re comfortable a: being stabbed to death by your quilt and b: bleeding all over your quilt – yes, I speak from experience lol) you’ll want to roll up the sides of your quilt very tightly and then safety pin those suckers down as tightly as you can like so:

Photobucket
(cat not absolutely necessary, but I find, it helps). *s*

You always want to quilt from the centre out, so that you can smooth any unevenness of fabric out as you go.

7. So, take a deep breath, lower your presser foot and begin quilting. Keep in mind, that your quilt will be much heavier than your practice pieces, so your initial stitches won’t be as beautiful as the ones you’ve achieved in your practice pieces. Quite quickly though, you should catch on to the difference the weight makes, but even if you don’t, don’t worry – that’s what a seam ripper is for!

And that’s it! It’s really not hard at all.
May 15, 2009 6 comments

Autumn Steals In

Some of you may remember this quilt:



May 11, 2009 3 comments

Ongoing...

I've had to take a break from the commission quilt I'm working on (instructions: "To be inspired by Saucy Divo but not be the same as Saucy Divo".

I'm done everything but the outer border on the top, but need to go the Fashion District to pick up fabric for the said border and the backing - I'm thinking a lovely chocolate brown ultrasuede or perhaps a coppery coloured linen - but as the Fashion District is only open during the same hours I have to be at my day job, I won't be able to get the fabric until this weekend. I am therefore on hold until then. I'm liking what I've got so far(taken at 5:45 a.m.) and I think I've got the "inspired by not not the same as" part down.

So, yesterday afternoon I worked on my summer wardrobe - completed one dress that, it turns out, looks terrible on me - *hah!* - it's not the sewing, merely the style - so I'll have to take that apart and make something else out of it. And I got most of the way through another one. This week - I'll be working on my birthday blocks (which I'm behind on!), a round robin quilt that I'm part of, and getting my Pay it Forward prizes done.

Busy, busy!
May 7, 2009 4 comments

What could this possibly be?

I started out with a clean, but old and impossibly stained tablecloth, which I cut into 10.5 inch squares:
Photobucket

This box of shiny strips was then brought into play:
Photobucket

And some experimentation began.

Photobucket

Oh dear! That's a definite "no".

Photobucket

Mayyyyyybeeeeee... if I tweak it a bit...

Flipping them over, and what the heck is THAT?

Photobucket

Is it starting to make sense now?

Hm. Stay tuned. :)

In the meantime, Jessie (ever helpful) suggests:

Photobucket

a nap.
May 4, 2009 12 comments

Oma's Pocketbook



Today after work, I finally managed to take pictures of my latest quilt, "Oma's Pocketbook", which I took in our still fallow garden, with a dying battery in the setting sun.
May 2, 2009 3 comments

And the Winners Are....

So, first of all, I had to write all of your names down. And then, I had to put them in a little, tiny, container (after first emptying out the push pins that normally live in it. What else would you put in such a tiny container, I ask you?)

And then, I enlisted the help of Beloved Spouse to do the drawing:

Resulting in... *drum roll*

Photobucket
Photobucket
Photobucket

So, Quilterbear, Cyrstal and Fiercefemme, I need the following information from you:

1. What is your favourite children's story?
2. What are your three favourite colours in order of preference?
3. What is your favourite animal?
4. Briefly describe your physical self
5. What is your mailing address?

Email this information to me at divaquilts@gmail.com, and post the Pay It Forward contest to your own blogs; and over the next week, I will get busy making you a hand-made something.

Whee! :)
May 1, 2009 2 comments

Woohoo!!

I finished the quilt I was working on!

Okay, techincally, I realize that it's now May 1, and not April 30 anymore, but in reality I haven't been to bed yet, ergo, it's still April 30. Right? Right.

Since it's 1:15 in the morning and I have to get up at 6:00 to go to work, and since I have not yet trimmed all the threads, I'm not posting a picture - but I did manage to complete three projects for Spring to Finish.

Mis-steps
A Day at the Zoo
and
Oma's Purse

I won't be posting pics tommorrow, because it's Beloved Spouse and my date night, but over the weekend expect to see it.

Yay! :)
 
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