The days before Halloween were dedicated to my costume and it's been much easier then past years. This year we are going as Scooby Doo characters I am Velma. In past years I have made a full body spandex wrestlers costume for my husband, Olivia the pig for me, Marie Antoinette skirt with my sister in-law, Woody, and Dog costumes for my kids, oh yes and the cape for Super Petra. Halloween is definitely our family's favorite holiday and my with my sister it's even bigger. I think part of the reason I love Halloween is the creativity behind decorating and making costumes.When people ask me how long I have been sewing or where I learned to sew it goes back to making costumes with my Mom. I still remember the year she made me a ballerina costume and now I know how hard working with that tulle must have been for her. One of the first costumes we really made together was the year I was a clown. We made a green and blue clown costume with pom poms and brickabrack. I must have been in 3rd grade. These days with my kids and the huge choice of costumes available I have not been able to make one for them for a few years. There are some costumes that really make more sense to buy but I look forward to the day I can make costumes with both of my kids and they can learn how to sew.
Friday, October 30, 2009
I have been struggling to get over this sickness. We were told by the nurse it was Swine Flu but they aren't running the tests anymore so we can't be sure. The whole thing is so frustrating, how do we know the extent of this flu if no one is getting tested?! Besides my lingering fatigue (this is my third week) it was pretty mild for us so I hope we had it and now can be done! That being said it's been hard for me to work as much as I'd like on the quilt and I miss it : (
Monday, October 19, 2009
I have just sewn together all of the building blocks and I am ready to make my fabric sandwich and start quilting. I am excited to see how my new techniques will turn out on this quilt. Below is the last step in making the building blocks that make up the front of the quilt.
The left side shows how the pieced fabric looks after I sew the white border around it. The object at this point is to create a rectangle that will be 11x14" because of the kooky angles of the fabric I have learned to measure very carefully as I trim to create the final size. Then I do the layout and start sewing all of the building blocks together.
I have been moving a little slowly still as I am still recovering from this bad cold or swine flu, who knows I am just ready to have all of my energy back! I really want to just quilt my heart out the next few days but know I might have to take it easy. With my last three quilts I would work in the evenings which I really enjoyed but by the time the kids are in bed I just want to sit on the couch, rest, and watch TV. Yuck I just want to be back to 100%!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Things have been a little tough this week. I have been sick, my son is sick, and my husband is out of town. I have managed a little studio time everyday and did finish the building blocks today. Needless to say this is not how I thought I would spend my week and things are a little slow in the studio. I do have two new finds that I love...
Fun new flannel! It's Urban Flannel by Valori Wells so cute.I found it when I was getting some fabric for my Halloween costume I think I'll make a little blanket for Lily. It reminds me of a baby blanket I had when I was a kid.
I found this great pad to keep in my studio for notes. It's by Alexis Pulitzer measures 7 1/4 by 9 and is bound on two sides. No more lists on the backs of old receipts for me!
I am hoping my son will be at school tomorrow giving me some much needed time on my own and lunch with a friend keep your fingers crossed.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
I had my free-motion, not free-form as Margaret pointed out, lesson last week with Margaret and it was just what I needed. I was a little worried that my teacher might not know about quilting but as soon as I saw Margaret I knew I was in good hands as she said "I have been quilting longer then you have been alive". It was like having a lesson with my Granny which was really nice.
When you have a lesson like this you bring your machine to work on and I had prepared a practice piece to quilt on. Now if you have not quilted before free-motion quilting is when you drop the feed dogs (little teeth like feet that move the underside of your fabric while you sew) of your machine and control the movement of your fabric on your own. This is done without turning the fabric but dancing it under the needle. When I finally figured this out with my first quilt it was a huge breakthrough but I was still having tension issues. In all of the searching I had done I really couldn't find a good description of the technique so I had no idea how to fix the problem. It took Margaret maybe 5 seconds and my problem was that I was not going fast enough which was creating a little drag. She instructed me to go faster and sometimes so fast the machine was vibrating up and down on the table. I felt like it was going to take off on me and really that was a little too fast for comfort but when I slowed a little I was still going much faster then before and just like that the tension is perfect. She also taught me a great trick to use when I am starting a stitch in the middle of the quilt which involved bringing the bobbin thread up through the top of the fabric then stitching in place three times to stay it. Finally the best thing Margaret introduced me to is...wait can you hear the trumpets and angels singing? I hear them now in my head it's the Titanium Quilting needle! My thread started to break while we were sewing and it's always good to check your needle when that is happening. Margaret was not impressed with my needle choice and pulled out one of these which we put in my machine and I couldn't believe the difference. It was like sewing through butter and they last longer then your normal needle so the price increase should balance out. If I can give you any tip when you are sewing it's keep your needle in check because an old needle can really cause a lot of trouble!
I still need to practice and remember to relax my shoulders while I sew but I am almost done with the building blocks and it will be time to quilt again, this time I have all the tools!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I just wanted to do a quick post to show how the building blocks are made...
Starting with a center square sew on a strip and trim off the excess.
Do the same on each side.
One more to go
Now to press it.
I am done with all 16 and it's time to trim into an off kilter shape and attach the white edging. Tomorrow is my sewing lesson to learn more about free-form quilting I can't wait!
Thursday, October 1, 2009
When your sewing machine is really slow and you think it's broken make sure the machine speed has not been turned down! This is the reason I have not been sewing the past few days.
I have had my Jenome sewing machine for four years and it has been great. I used it nonstop when I had my knitting needle holder business. During Terie's quilt I noticed the machine not having as much power and I started thinking it was about time to have a tune up but didn't want to stop working. I took the bobbin compartment apart and cleaned out the lint,changed the needle, and checked for the speed of the machine but didn't find a switch for that. So I just resigned that I should bring it in before something really bad happened. I went to Montavilla Sewing and the man behind the counter, who looked as if he'd worked there for 30 years, asked what was wrong and I said it was running really slowly. "This should do the trick" and he flips the speed switch which is right in front of my face! At least we could laugh about my mistake and he said it happens all of the time, although he could have just been trying to make me feel better. I did leave the machine for tuning and was told it would be 7 to 10 days, luckily it ended up being 4.
Now back to the quilt!
Because this will be the second time I'm making this quilt I will try not to duplicate steps I have already gone over. Click on Ducky Quilt to see the beginning of the first version.
Today I cut and sewed all of the strips together that go around the center squares of the quilt.Next, hopefully today, I will attach these to the squares which creates the "building blocks" as they are called in the book. I found this really fun last time kind of like putting a puzzle together. Even with this short break I still have the same excitement to get in the studio and I can't wait to see how this quilt turns out.