Friday, July 21, 2017

Road Trip - Mt Vernon

You can tell it is summer in Seattle, lots of road trips. This time we went north to Calico Creations. Great selection, rotates her fabric so it is current all the time.....great sale section.  Very helpful staff with great ideas.  Huge selection of reasonably priced patterns as well as a lot of great store samples.  Nice and bright! Be sure to visit if you are in the area.


Calico Creations
(360) 336-3241
400 S 1st St
Mount Vernon, Washington, WA 98273


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Road Trip - Elma Variety

They sell a large variety of merchandise in a 10,000 sq. ft. building, packed with great products! Helium Balloons and Party Supplies. Toys and Gifts. Houseware and Gardening. One of the largest Craft selections in SW Washington! You have to see our selection of Fabrics to believe it! Over 6500 bolts of fabric with new selections arriving weekly. Don't forget our Beads and Notions and Yarns. In all, twenty departments and great customer service! I admit we never looked at anything but the fabric! I figured it is a very good excuse to go back!!!


Elma Variety
325 W Main St
Elma, Washington, WA 98541

(360) 482-2411

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Sewing

I need an easy project for summer. One that I could pick up with out any trouble. I decided to make a disappearing 4 patch. Of course I had to tweak it just a little.

I started with 5 1/2" squares

Sewed on light to one dark

Made the 4 patch, and cut both directions 1" from the center in four places.

By moving the parts around you get a nicely pieced block that looks hard to sew but is sew easy.
The Tweak? I decided to take all the bits and sew them together in a very random way

I love the extra scrappy look!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Metallic Threads



Metallic threads require some special handling but are frequently well worth the effort. Here are some helpful
hints.

When using Metallic threads an Embroidery 40wt. polyester or nylon bobbin thread is absolutely necessary. Run your fingers along the thread, it will feel like fish scales. Every time a cotton thread catches on a scale it will break. A polyester bobbin thread is very smooth and will not get caught. Please use a Metallic needle. I recommend a size 90/14 to start. As you get better try a 80/12  or 70/11neelle.

For Flat film polyester thread use a nylon or polyester bobbin thread. The smooth finish of this thread helps the thread glide easily. Use a Metallic or a top stitch needle size 90/14. The large eye helps prevent shredding. This thread MUST feed from the side of the spool. Think about a spool of ribbon, is pulled from the top it will twist. So will this thread and every twist is a potential breaking point.

 Tension
Don’t be afraid of the tension knob, but it’s actually your best friend when you are machine sewing. Be bold about experimenting with different settings. How does the stitching on the top look? On the bottom? Adjust the tension as needed.
For best results, make a test sample and remember the tension should be balanced top and bottom.
·        Loops on the top means the bottom tension needs adjustment
·        Loops on the bottom indicates the top tension requires adjustment.

Troubleshooting
The more you machine sew, the easier you will find it to be, so have patience with yourself. There are a few general troubleshooting techniques that seem to solve most problems:
·        Change the needle
·        Use the right needle for the thread and the job
·        Rethread the sewing machine, both needle and bobbin
·        Clean your machine
·        Sew slower


If the top thread breaks or shreds:
·        The needle may be too small. It needs to be large enough to make a sufficient hole in the fabric to prevent wear on the thread.
·        The needle tension may be too tight. Loosen the tension a little at a time until the thread stops breaking.
·        Check to make sure the needle is properly installed.
·        Some decorative threads become worn as they go through the thread guide on the machine closest to the needle. Skip this thread guide.
·        Clean and oil (check the manual) your machine.
·        If your metallic thread breaks, check to make sure you are using the correct needle. The bobbin thread type is also important. When you run your fingers down metallic thread, it feels a bit like fish scales. If you have a cotton thread in the bobbin, the metallic thread will constantly grab it and break. Switch to a polyester or nylon bobbin thread.
·        Rayon and metallic threads tend to be slippery and slip off the spool. They may wind around the spool pin holder or catch on the spool itself. There are two possible solutions -- a horizontal holder or a mesh or nylon sleeve for the thread.
·        Adding a monofiliment thread into the needle with very delicate metallic threads may add enough strength to the decorative thread to make sewing much easier.
·        If all else fails, ask your sewing machine dealer to check for burrs.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Adding Decorative Stitches to the Quilting Design

Lets face it, I love the Quilting. I am always looking for a way to change it up. I found a very simple way...Decorative Stitches. We all have them, let's use them!

The first thing most notice here is the 'rough' satin stitch. That's a good thing, but look closer and you will see the TRIPLE stitch (sometimes the lingerie or stretch stitch). Most machines have one. Three times the thread! It's great. No extra trouble, no changing the thread, needle or tension.

This is one of my favorite and I use the walking foot! Straight lines interrupted with a satin stitch.


It can easily be changed up a bit by simply making the satin stitch longer.
 

What other ideas can you come up with?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Practical Tips for Quilting Designs, continued


I talked about individual quilting motifs. If a picture is worth a thousand words, here are five thousand of them!
Spirals, echos, lines, Greek keys, flowers
Plaids, echos, feathers, lines, Greek keys, flowers, pebbles

Lines, flowers, swirls, boxes, flowers
Spirals, boxes, feathers, pebbles, lines, feathers, lines, flowers, boxes
Blue Bayou

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Practical Tips For Quilting Designs



Some of you were wondering how I decide which free motion quilting patterns to use, so I thought I would share a few ideas.
The first step is having a repertoire of great filler patterns that work well together. These filler patterns will be your go-tos in a pinch. You should practice them a lot so that you can fit them into strange spaces. After lots of experience, you’ll be able to look at an area and instinctively know what designs will fit there easily. I don’t have a large number of patterns that I cycle through, but the ones that I do know, I’m very comfortable with. I’m also very willing to try out new patterns – in the grand scheme of things, if you struggle with one small area, onlookers will never notice. They’ll look at the overall picture of your project. One tip I would give you is that matching thread hides a multitude of sins. However, I love to change the colors a lot!

They need to be able to fit in a variety of areas AND you need to be comfortable stitching them!

Flowers - my favorite
Circles
Linear lines - note the dark yellow stitch - it's the triple stitch (more on that later)
Spirals, Greek Key, Paisleys

Hopefully that gives you a good start! If you are wanting to try blended quilting, make a list of some of the designs that 1) you are confident with and 2) work well together. Of course, it’s never too late to learn some new patterns!

What are some of your favorite free motion quilting fillers? Any that you would add to this list?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Quilting Design Ideas

Seems like I'm always working on a new project. Probably because I am. I take lots of pictures all the time. The sanding joke in my family is "film is cheap". (Yes I take digital pics).  Any way I love this idea. I just need to figure out a way to make it work for me.
I must figure out a was to quit these spines with this wonderful back light.

I'd like to add the lines too.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy July 4th

Celebrate the fourth of July with a couple of patriotic quilts. These Eye Candy Quilts are fast and fun to make!


Eye Candy Quilts

Friday, June 30, 2017

Vintage Quilts

I don't know anything about these quilts. Just loved the colors!






Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Umbrellas

And yes I made an Umbrella Quilt!


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Umbrellas

I have a 'thing' going with the sun. I love it, it doesn't love me. I have been caring a parasol for years. I have special requirements for an umbrella. I like very light weight one, that folds up to purse size. Cheap ones are usual best for this, but once I find one I love they don't seem to last very long. At a quilt show recently I say an embellished one that I loved.Too impractical to use, but oh so tempting.








Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sewing Machines



I'm up to 12,668,999 stitches on mine!

Someone asked me the other day what kind of machine I use. I sew on a BERNINA 830. With its generous dimensions, it offers significantly more working area than other sewing machines! The free arm leaves a 12" of space to the right of the needle, letting me spread out my project and guide it comfortably. This design provides enough room even for large quilts, and ensures optimum vision and control when quilting.

What I really think she wanted to know  was what kind of sewing machine do I recommend. I have three thoughts on the subject. Buy the very best you can afford, by European made and look very hard at who you buy it from. You are going to have a long relationship with your dealer.

There are other things to think about: what features do you need? I am a long time lover of BERNINA. The knee lift for the presser foot and the ability to raise or lower the needle with the 'gas' petal are favorite features of my old machine. 

Contemporary sewing machines are outfitted with many, many more options: duel feed, automatic needle threaders, switches that let you run the machine without pressing on a foot pedal, sewing machines with loads of specialty switches, the ability to make the needle end up in the down position or in the up position when the machine is stopped -- those features are just a sampling of what you'll find when you shop for a machine.


Take what you sew most with you to the dealer and play!