Friday, June 29, 2018

Scrap Quilts

Earlier this year I promised to post more about making scrap quilts. I store my scraps in cut squares. Anytime I need a square of a specific size, I head right to that box. I find it much more inspiring to get right to the designing, not cutting fabric.

For this quilt, I chose a color pallet that I know is always successful. Lime green, turquoise and white. I started making 4 patches. Some double 4 patches and some plain squares. The next part is the fun part 'how' am I going to sew them together? Which one do you like?

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

It's Retreat Time

Retreat means different things to different people. For some it is the opportunity to learn from a
teacher. For many it is a time to sew. For me it is time spent with friends.We sew, eat, talk and sew some more. Over the years I have developed a list of must haves:

sewing machine
extension plate for machine, foot pedal and power cord for my sewing machine  (I put these on the list because I may or may not have forgotten to bring one or more of them once or twice in my life…)
extension cord
paper sack for garbage
sewing kit
seam ripper
extra needles and bobbins
extra thread – which usually means I’ll bring 6 or 7 spools  (I have a tendency over-estimate how much I’ll actually get done.)
rulers – I always bring a 8 1/2" square and a 6″ x 12″ rectangle
rotary cutter and extra blades
small rotary cutting mat
seam ripper
snips and scissors
one or two pens, graph paper and some scratch paper
re-fillable water bottle

projects! Lots of them, I like choices AND the directions to complete them!

Sunday, June 24, 2018

10 Tips for Sucessful Machine Quilting

1.     Basting is the most important step. I find basting is the least enjoyable part of making a quilt, but it pays off in the end. All three layers should be as smooth and flat as possible. Spray basters can press the quilt on both sides to set the glue; pin basters should double the amount of pins they normally use.

2.     Maximize your workspace. Having enough room to work is one of the keys to successfully quilting. A table that allows your machine to sit flush with the work surface is ideal.

3.     Match thread weight to the proper needle size. With so many choices for threads and needles, here’s a general rule: use a size 80 needle with size 40-50wt thread, and a size 90 needle with a 28-30wt thread. Choose needles labeled as sharps, topstitch, or quilting over universal. These needles have sharp tips and will more easily pierce through all three layers of a quilt.

4.     Use the same color on top and in the bobbin. With perfect tension, you should be able to use any combination of colors for the top and bobbin threads, but in reality, this is not always the case. If the two threads have high contrast, you may see little dots of thread either on the front or back of your quilt.

5.     Learn to love the walking foot. Although free-motion quilting allows you to quilt beautiful, intricate designs while stitching in any direction, don’t forget about the designs you can quilt with your walking foot. Instead of stitching in the ditch, try continuous spirals, organic shapes, and gentle wavy lines.

6.    Warm up before you quilt by sketching your quilting design on a piece of paper or on a photograph or printout of the quilt top. If you understand the flow of the thread path, you can mimic that motion on your actual quilt.

7.     Practice free-motion quilting daily. Since I can’t stand practice for practice sake, I always have a ‘cheater’ panel quilt basted and ready for stitching.

8.     Quilt on real quilts, then give them away. Practice makes progress. What better way to learn by practicing on a quilt for someone who will love it and won’t notice the imperfections?

9.     Press seams open for a flatter quilt top and back. And skipped stitches won’t become a problem.

10. Develop a can-do attitude. This is the last–but most important–tip. You only need to work with one-fourth of the quilt under the machine at any one time. Take your time with the process and remember–this is supposed to be fun!

Friday, June 22, 2018

I Need a Toddler Quilt Like NOW!

Simple quilts are sometimes the best. I need a baby quilt for a toddler. Sounds to me like an "I spy" quilt is in order. I dug around in my scraps to find all the 5" squares with some recognizable image. Sewed them together added a fun jungle themed border, Quilted it with an easy undulating stitch. And in a short time it is ready to wrap, sand I know he and his Mom will spend many hours looking at all the images!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Cleaning House

Marti Gras, machine pieced, quilted & embellished by Melody Crust 28” x 28”.
After the 'tidy studio' blog hop, I realized that I needed to clean out my studio even more. So I am putting stuff for sale on Ebay.
Items include everything from rulers to fabric or Melody's quilts. Very affordable prices for all. And free shipping. Check it out!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

How I know It's Summer

I love to celebrate the longest day of the year with the Fremont Solstice Parade! There are more than 60 dazzling community-based ensembles parading down the streets of Fremont with giant puppets, stilt walkers, floats, dancers, cyclists and musicians in this kaleidoscope of joyous human expression.

What makes the Fremont Solstice Parade unique?
The parade always starts with streakers, on bicycles no less.
     EVERYONE CAN BE AN ARTIST. Full participation is completely open to the public.

    PEOPLE POWERED. No motorized vehicles are allowed!
ALL ABOUT THE ART. No printed words or logos are allowed. Participants relish the challenge of proclaiming their message through creative expression.
We never did decide what this float was all about.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Choose the Right Batting

When I am asked this question I used to say “80% or more cotton, the right size & in my house”, I have come a long way. And understanding the differences between batting types helps make selecting a quilt batting easier. The very best place to learn about a particular type of batting is the product information on the label.

Batting is the soft layer between the quilt top and the backing. It gives the quilt dimension and definition as well as offering warmth. Because it comes in various thicknesses, it can make a quilt flat or puffy, stiff or drapable. It is available by the yard or packaged to fit standard bed sizes.

Historically, quiltmakers used whatever natural fibers were on hand for the quilt’s middle layer. Today’s quilter has an overwhelming number to choose from, natural and synthetic products that have a variety of characteristics.

The batting you choose should complement the nature and use of your finished quilt. I’ll talk about all the different qualities of battings and help you choose the one that will work best for your project.

Batting Qualities
Things to think about when selecting the right batting.
Drapability: The density or sparseness of the quilting and the loft of the batting will affect the drape, or relative stiffness or softness, of the finished quilt.
Grain line: Many batts have a grainline. Just like with fabric, the lengthwise grain is stable and doesn’t have much give; the crosswise grain will be stretchy.
          Note: A wall hanging is happiest when the stable grainline is vertical.
Loft: This term describes the thickness of the batting. Different loft levels result in different appearances in a finished quilt.
Resiliency: This is the batting’s ability to regain its original shape--how quickly it can spring back when unfolded and how it resists creasing.
Warmth: Cotton battings absorb moisture, making them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Wool battings provide warmth with little weight.
          Note: I live in Seattle. After many years of sleeping with a polyester comforter, I decided it was time I make a quilt with a cotton batt. We nearly froze the first winter. We now have quilt with a wool batt, it’s perfect.
Washability and shrinkage: Polyester and wool battings resist shrinking, while cotton can shrink from 3 to 5 percent. Some quilters prefer the puckered, antique look that results when batting shrinks. I prefer no shrinkage so I prewash my batting.
          Note: Read the manufacturer’s directions if you choose to prewash.
Here is a comparison of types of batting and the pros and cons of each.

Hand quilting
Will your stitching be high density? Choose a low-loft batting. Batting options could
include 100% cotton, cotton/polyester blend, or wool.

Will your stitching be medium density? Choose a medium-loft batting. Batting options could include a cotton/polyester blend or wool.

Will your stitching be low density? Choose a high-loft batting. This combination is not
recommended as stitching will be lost in the batting’s loft.

Machine quilting
Will your stitching be high density? Choose a low-loft batting. Batting options could include cotton, cotton/polyester blend, or wool.

Will your stitching be low density? Choose a medium-loft batting. Batting options could
include wool or a cotton/polyester blend.

Tied quilts
Choose a medium- to high-loft batting. Only batting option should be polyester.
          Note: Looong before I knew better, I put a cotton batt in a tied quilt. The first time it was washed there was one large lump of batting in the corner.

How Will Your Quilt Be Used?
Before you make your final batting choice, consider how you’ll use your quilt. These questions will help you evaluate which batting is best for your project.
Is it a baby quilt that will be washed and dried extensively? Will it be placed on a child’s bed and get pulled and tugged? Are you making a wall hanging that needs to maintain sharp, crisp corners? Or are you making a quilt that you want to drape loosely over a bed and tuck beneath the pillows? Is it an heirloom project that will be used sparingly and only laundered once every few years? Or is it a decorative item that will never be washed? Is it a table runner that needs to lie extremely flat?

Bed Sizes
Crib mattress 23 x 46” Batting 45 x 60”
Twin Size mattress 39 X 75” Batting 72 x 90”
Double/full mattress 54 x 75” Batting 81 x 76”
Queen Size mattress 60 X 80” Batting 90 x 108”
King Size mattress 76 X 80” Batting 120 x 120”

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Disappearing Nine Patch Again

This time I wanted to take that disappearing nine patch block and do something different. I seem to always have left over blocks. So this time I decided to combine two totally unrelated blocks together. I think it works well.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Playing with Blocks - The Disappearing Nine Patch

5" squares of Flower fabrics sewn into a 9 patch
My latest interest is all the ways blocks can be re cut into new blocks. There are more ways than I can count. In the next few blogs I will sew some. Looks very difficult really very simple!
I cut each side in half, in this case 1 1/4" from the seams

Cut block

Turn two blocks 180 degrees

An resew pieces together

The finished quilt