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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Quilting with my granddaughter

My seven-year-old granddaughter wanted to make a cushion for her bed, so she spent today with me. She'd already picked out the colors she wanted, and I pulled fabrics from my stash and cut them from the layout I'd done in EQ7 (for the Mac!) so we'd be sure to finish in the one day. She requested yellow and white, and we added some purple, her favorite color. She pieced the log cabin variation sitting with me in the chair for supervision, and then she had fun with the walking foot for the quilting. The addition of an overlapped back made the quilt into a cushion cover.

Here's my happy granddaughter with her accomplishment. She loves my Bernina! ;)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fun with machine appliqué

My quilting buddy from Phoenix has been spending a few days here with me, and we had a project in mind to keep us busy and out of trouble. ;) We used our embroidery modules to appliqué some adorable puppies from this pattern.

They're so cute that we've been oohing and awwing at every step! I chose three pups to begin with, but I really had trouble making up my mind — except for the cocker spaniel puppy, of course, since our Bisou likes the same play position. LOL!

These three blocks are all that I have finished at this point, but I'll have to decide how I want to put them together and what other motifs to add to make everything fit together.

Edit: My quilting buddy has just posted photos of her Mixed Mutts dogs, too! Here's where you can find them.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quick baby gift

A young couple we know has just had a first baby, an adorable little boy. :) I needed to whip up a quick baby gift, and Craftsy published this cute pattern for a bib. It was quite easy to make, though I did make one modification: I put a layer of vinyl in between the front and back layers so that liquids wouldn't soak through and get the baby or his clothes wet. Having the vinyl between the layers did, however, make the bib more difficult to turn right side out, but I think it will have been worth it. Oh, and I decided to make the owl slightly cross-eyed; he was cuter that way. ;)

Here's the back of the bib, with baseball-themed fabric for a baseball-oriented family. I had the fabric in my stash, and it seemed perfect for this! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Modified machine foot

I've been reading Amy's Free Motion Adventures for a while now. She has some wonderful tutorials for free motion quilting, but she also has a wonderful foot for her sewing machine. It's just like the ones you see on long arm machines, but it fits her domestic machine and makes using rulers on that machine much easier. You see, the problem with using rulers on most domestic machines is that the free motion foot will slide far too easily under the ruler, leaving the operator subject to broken needles, machine timing problems, and even injury. Unfortunately, much as I love my Bernina, no similar long arm-style foot is available for it. I've tried doing some ruler work anyway, and it was very stressful as I tightened up all of my muscles in the attempt to keep everything safe and working correctly.  Ouch!

A recent post to a Yahoo group, however, got my mind working. What if I found something I could attach somehow to my #9 foot, which is the one that I'd most likely want to modify? A trip to my local home improvement stores netted me what I hoped would work. I already had a #9 foot, of course. But I bought some rubber O-rings and some Super Glue and then came home and pondered whether I really thought it would work. That took several days. ;)

Finally, though, I decided I'd give it a try. I put a thin ring of glue around the top of the foot and used a wooden skewer to nudge and tap the O-ring into position, letting it dry for about 30 minutes to be very sure it was secure. Hmmm. Not tall enough. I added another O-ring and let that dry. See the result? The angle of the photo makes it look like the O-rings are skewed, but they really aren't, I promise.

Okay, now that it looked to be the right thickness, all that was left was to give it a try with the curved cross-hatching ruler I'd tried to use previously. The ruler is from this site, and I think I will have to get another — straight this time — from them.

I need lots more practice, obviously, but I really think the modified foot is going to be very helpful! I did a quick trial on a diagonal half of the drawn square here, and the added height on the foot really made a difference in how relaxed I was as I stitched.

Here is a series of photos to show the progress on the triangular area:
Doing the first angle of curves

The second angle

Finished — mistakes and all! LOL!
I'm so pleased with the foot I've modified that I'm not even upset at having a bit of Super Glue on a couple of fingertips! ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Place for Everything

Remember this bag from about a year ago? I used it to take some quilting notions with me on the recent quilting cruise, and I've also used it for more local quilting events. However, it is limited in the size of things it will accommodate, so I decided to make its "big brother", the A Place for Everything Bag. It's a little easier to make than the smaller one, as Annie revised how to do the binding — the only really difficult part on the original. That's a carrying handle on the left (it's on the opposite side from the other bag), and it has double zipper pulls to open the bag.

This photo shows the difference in the size of the two bags. I think both will be really useful!

Opening this bag shows off the pages of pockets, as in the smaller version. However, these pockets, in a variety of sizes, have little gussets. That makes stashing bulkier items easier — think sewing machine feet, spools of thread, and that sort of thing.

Just as in the smaller bag, the pages are removable. There's a difference, though; the pages are constructed in pairs, so two pages come out at a time. See the different kinds of pockets I chose?

The directions for this pattern are clear, as usual with Annie's work, and she does suggest using a teflon-coated foot for the sewing machine. That makes sewing with the vinyl under the foot much easier. I like my #56 foot, since it gives very good visibility and even allows me to move the needle position when stitching the binding; that lets me keep more fabric over the feed dogs and have better control.

Near the end of making the bag, I had a lightbulb moment. ;) There were times when I had to stitch with the vinyl pockets next to the bed of the machine, rather than under the foot. That vinyl really sticks! But I have a silicon "sheet" that I use when doing free-motion quilting — what if I used that under the vinyl? Yes! It really stops the vinyl from sticking to the machine bed! My silicon sheet has a large cutout, allowing the feed dogs to work as intended, but some have only a needle hole. It would be an easy matter to cut out a larger opening, if you wanted to use this idea. :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

What was I thinking?

If you've been reading my blog for any time at all, you know that I really like the patterns I've bought from Annie. I liked her Hold Everything Bag so much that I bought all of the supplies necessary to make her more recent A Place for Everything Bag, This one is supposed to be easier to make, and it has gussets in the pockets to make storing things that aren't flat a little more doable.

The supplies had been sitting around for a little while, and it was time to begin. The first step, of course, is to cut out certain "chunks" of fabric and Soft and Stable. Some of those fabric pieces are then quilted to the Soft and Stable. I usually just do straight lines for this step, but this time I decided to do something else; the flowered motifs are all outlined in gold, so I decided to enhance this by outlining them in gold thread — just some of them, you understand, as there were an awful lot of flowers. I decided to outline only the white ones.

There are three pieces to quilt this way: one 7" x 39" (done!), one 28" x 23" (done!), and one 28" x 16" (still in progress). They take longer than I'd anticipated, and it's really hard to tell that the quilting is done. Drat! But the reverse side, which will show as the lining, does show it, so all is not lost. :) Today's project: finish that last piece! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

River cruise — the end

Last year my husband and I visited Amsterdam before taking a cruise to the Norwegian fjords. At that time, I was pretty disappointed not to see any of the "traditional" windmills; these days they are all the modern style, which isn't nearly as picturesque — though I'm sure they're much more efficient. However, our last stop on this river cruise was in Kinderdijk (Netherlands), which has lots of the older windmills! Yay! So this post will be to show you something I'd been waiting for since last year. ;)

One after another, they were lined up for our "inspection". I loved it!

More …

And yet more …

Still more …

Everywhere we looked, there were these wonderful old windmills! The only down side to the day was that the weather, which had been so cooperative all during our cruise, was finally turning. Look at those grey skies! But the ship had umbrellas for us, so we didn't get too wet. :)

The next day was our marathon travel day, as we traveled for 24 hours before arriving home. Naturally, as soon as we'd plopped our luggage inside the front door, we raced to the car and went to get Bisou from where she'd been having the time of her life playing with the other dogs at the sitter's house! LOL! Here she is, recuperating from her playtime with a golden doodle. Our sitter is so good and sends us photos from time to time while we're away. :)