Showing posts with label Sewing Machine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sewing Machine. Show all posts

Monday, April 1, 2013

Wanna Buy a 6600?

So did you notice that machine and sewing table in my studio? Well they're both new too. At QuiltCon a local Texas sewing machine shop stocked all of the classrooms with brand new Janomes and the machines were available for sale at a tremendous discount. And when I say tremendous I mean way too good to pass up. Yep. I bought a Horizon. Eeek! And my 6600 is less than a year old. 


I justified the purchase because I got the machine and a sewing table for about the same price of my 6600. And I didn't have to pay for shipping or tax. It was a steal. I had been looking at the Horizon last year but I couldn't stomach the price tag. 


Now, I need to sell Hepburn. I love her so much. She's an amazing machine but it's the only way I can justify the upgrade to the Horizon. Anyone in the market for a gently used, one year old Janome 6600?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New Foot Failure


So I bought myself a walking foot with a 1/4" guide for Hepburn. I didn't even know these things existed, but at our LAMQG Retreat this Fall, Latifah introduced me to this little magical wonder. She pieces with her walking foot and mentioned that it helps especially sewing over some of those bulky seams, which makes sense. Then she showed me this little beauty. I knew I must have it. 


I tried to find it online (not terribly hard, but hard enough) and had some trouble finding one. Then, one day while I was working in Tennessee I noticed a little sewing machine shop down the road, that happened to be a certified Janome dealer. I stopped in on my lunch break to ask if they carried the foot. They said they did, and I got excited, but then had a heap of trouble finding it. Sadly, I thanked them for trying and told them where I was working for the day just in case they were able to find one. Half an hour later they came looking for me. They had the foot! They were so friendly and helpful. If you're ever in Murfreesboro, TN be sure to stop by Absolutely Fun Sewing and Embroidery.


I decided to take it for a test run on some of my (past-due) bee blocks. Caitlin had asked us to make Scrap Buster Blocks from Little Miss Shabby's tutorials. Her request was that we use black, white and gray scraps for the 1.5" squares and a bright solid like an orange or pink for the strips. 


Piecing was going really well. I seemed to be moving right along making the 1.5" square rows and then I started to put the block together. My scrappy rows were consistently too short. I measured them up against the foot guide and it seemed fine. I didn't have the stamina to start all over again so I decided to try and solve the problem rather than "scrap" it. I cut the solid strips wider than in the tutorial and that seemed to help. Then I realized the problem. My needle isn't matching up with the guideline on my new walking foot!


Ugh. I just assumed that it would automatically be aligned. Well, you know what happens when you assume? You screw up your scrap buster blocks! Ugh! I think I was able to salvage the blocks without starting completely from scratch. I had a few extra 1.5" squares left over from cutting, so I ended up adding extra squares to each scrappy row. That, paired with the wider solid strips helped me to save the blocks. They're now just a scant bi shy of 12.5" square, so I think Caitlin will still be able to work with them. But sigh. These are definitely not my best work.

Monday, August 13, 2012

do. Good Stitches Host Swap Sent


I can finally reveal what I made for my secret partner in the do. Good Stitches Host Swap. I was matched up with Erica, who hosts the Wish Circle. And you want to hear something funny? She practically lives down the street from me! I was halfway tempted to just show up on her doorstep with my package, but I thought that might be a little creepy, so I mailed it instead.


One of the things on Erica's wish list was a sewing machine cover for her Janome. And since we're both sewing on the same machine, I was able to use mine for reference. And after a little bi of stalking I settled on hand piecing a couple Joseph's Coat blocks and hand appliquéing them onto yarn-dyed linen (her favorite) for the design.


I've never made a sewing machine cover before, so I kind of winged the construction. I made the main panel from one long piece of the linen and quilted it with a neutral solid backing - sort of a quilt as you go method. Then I cut the two side pieces and quilted them in the same manner, also adding pockets to each side. I then attached each side with Y-seams, so the main body of the cover had a continuous look.


Finally, I made the inner lining in the same method from the linen (save for quilting) and tacked the corners together internally so the lining wouldn't fall. Then I finished the raw edges with binding, as you would a quilt. I think I might have to make one of these for myself.


Of course, I added in some extras for Erica, including fabric, thread, buttons and tools. I also sent her a little card encouraging her to come and meet me at a LAMQG meeting sometime. It's always nice having sewing buddies nearby! So, here's to another successful swap. I swear, one of these days I'll cut back. But they're hard to resist. They're just so much fun!

Friday, June 15, 2012

"A Year of Making Life Beautiful" Blog Tour


Do you know Melissa of Lilac Lane? If you don't, you really should get to know her. I "met" Melissa a could of years ago, both through her wonderful blog and also as a member of the charity bee "A Dozen Quilters". I saw that they were losing a couple members and asked Melissa if I could join, especially since they were turning their focus to charity projects. She gladly said yes. It was a pleasure to work with her through a year of projects to help those less fortunate than us, but an equal pleasure getting to know her better as well.

I am sure some of you remember me mentioning a couple of secret projects I was working on this Spring. Well, they were for Melissa. The first you saw a while back - her super cute "Picnic In the Park" quilt pattern, which she released this Spring and was also recently featured at her booth at the International Quilt Market. And then came the second secret project... Imagine my surprise when she asked me if I would also be willing to make a quilt for her new book, "A Year of Making Life Beautiful: 45 projects to bake, grow, craft and sew throughout the year". I was honored. Seriously? I'm not worthy!
Melissa sent me her elegant, yet easy, "Make Life Quilt" Pattern along with a beautiful array of Hello Luscious fabrics by Basic Gray for Moda. This gorgeous quilt can be made from pre-cuts. I don't usually work with a lot of pre-cuts but, let me tell you, it made life so much easier not to have to worry about cutting all that fabric. It makes for a quilt top that comes together quickly, yet all your friends and family will think you labored for weeks! She also entrusted me to quilt it too. Whoa! Talk about pressure. It was actually the first quilt I quilted on my new machine, and despite it's size it quilted like a charm! But I'm proud to say it's being featured in the month of April in her book, and also was at her booth at Market. My picture can't even do it justice. The sun was at the wrong angle when I had to take the picture!

Make Life Quilt

That's not even the best part. I got an advance copy of the book, and let me tell you, the whole thing is simply delicious! Melissa has such an amazing sense of style and grace. And her warm and gentle personality shines in each and every one of the projects featured in "A Year of Making Life Beautiful". And each project really does help beautify your life even more.

(Make Life Quilt)

Melissa taken her gift for making life beautiful and translated it to the page with all sorts of fun and yummy projects to create. Each month she cleverly features a variety of sewing, cooking, gardening and craft projects that you can make in your own home. No matter your walk of life or where you live, there's something in this book bound to call out, "Make Me!"

(Stars & Stripes Quilt)

I, personally, can't wait to try making the Memory Bag. I mean, how genius is that? I wish I had seen that before I left Chicago and threw away all of my bulky sweaters!

(Memory Bag)

Just flipping through the pages gives me a sense of calm and peace, so rarely found in my hectic life.
Be sure to get your own copy today! They're available directly from Melissa or on Quiltwoman in either spiral bound or hardcover editions. BUT one of my lucky followers and win their very own copy! Melissa is generously donating a copy of her book "A Year of Making Life Beautiful" to one of my lucky readers. So I'm hosting a giveaway! All you have to do to enter is leave me a comment. You can tell me anything but if you're at a loss, tell me what you would like to do to make your life more beautiful. That's it. I'll keep the giveaway open until Monday, June 18, 2012. One comment per person. International Entries welcome. But please, if you're a "No Reply" commenter make sure I have a way to contact you. Good luck!


Monday, March 5, 2012

MQG Entry

I admitted my ennui and then I went radio silent, but it was for a good reason. I thought that the best way to get through it was to throw myself into a project, and that I did. I was up against a deadline and I barely had time to come up for air. But I finished the quilt I've been playing around with lately.


I'm calling it "Redirected" and it's officially my entry into the Modern Quilt Guild Showcase. Although, I'm seeing so many great quilts that people submitted I'm thinking it's a long shot that I'll get accepted. I started designing this quilt in my head as I was winding down at work. I've been thinking a lot lately about my line of work and the level of stress in my life due to my job. It's often unnecessary. I've also been considering if it isn't time to take a new direction in my life. I don't have the answers, but it's been on my mind a lot, especially as I've been working on this quilt.


I wanted to play with the 45 degree angles in the diamonds as well as the use of negative space. The Kaffee Fasset shot cotton also has an iridescence to it and I wanted to play with that texture and color change so I actually played with the direction of the fabric in this one so the quilt changes colors at different angles and in different lighting. Straight-line quilting was the only thing that made sense to me for this quilt. I wanted sharp, clean lines. I also wanted to play with sharp angles and direction changes.


When it came to thread, though, I was at a loss. I initially thought I was going to use orange thread, no question. But when I started thread shopping I started to doubt myself. Maybe the orange would be too bold and overpowering because as this came together I liked how the negative space was becoming the showcase of this piece. I picked up some teal thread as well, still confused about what thread to use.


I got a couple, brilliant suggestions about maybe using both. So I did. I used a combination of the teal and the orange thread, to create an ombre effect, often changing thread color in the middle of lines (which meant a LOT of tails to hide later - see all those loose threads?) I also "hid" diamond stitches throughout - those little gems you sometimes find when you take a leap and make an unplanned change in life. I am debating adding a few more.

I was meticulous about my straight lines and used masking tape to ensure they were perfectly straight. This was also the first quilt I've ever quilted on my new Janome and I AM IN LOVE!!!!! It's life changing.


The key to this piece was simplicity so I ended up using the same shot cotton for the back and then a saffron shot cotton for the binding. It's a small, lap quilt, only measuring 50" x 48" with 100% cotton Warm and Natural batting. But it's done. Well, there are a couple stray pieces of tape I still need to pick off but it's there. But it's done. And I'm with pleasure sewing again. Now I just need to wait and see what happens with it. Did you enter anything?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tablecloth for Ericka

The good news... I finally unpacked my new machine and took her for a test drive. Man, she's fast! The bad news... we've got some electrical issues to figure out in the garage. Things were going well, for a while, but then I plugged in one too many energy suckers and shorted something in the circuitry. Thankfully, only the garage was affected. But I need to bring the sewing back to the dining room until we can get an electrician out to fix it. Ugh.

But not only lamentations around here. I also wanted to share a recent finish with you. One of my co-workers, Ericka, commissioned me to make a scrappy tablecloth for her future mother-in-law. Her MIL was throwing them an engagement party and she wanted something special as a thank you gift. I talked her through some options and she settled on something inspired by this tablecloth on flickr. It's always been a favorite of mine.

Ericka wanted to pick out the fabric herself so she could have an excuse to go fabric shopping. She told me the dimensions she wanted for the tablecloth and I told her the yardages to pick up and then sent her over to see Lauren at Sew Modern. She came back with a fabulous stack of fabric and I got to work, cutting large pieces and fitting them together to create that scrappy look. Her MIL's favorite color is yellow so the back is a solid Kona Banana and I hand sewed the binding.

I used the same concept to create this as I did a quilt, minus the sandwiching, but instead of pin basting, I just machine basted each side. And I have to apologize for the crappy pictures. I snapped them off quickly before Ericka came to pick it up and my table isn't the right size to show it off properly. And I didn't have much space or any help. But Ericka is happy and that's all that matters.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It's All About the Reward

Today I am beginning to tackle a major project. I am finally turning our garage into my studio. I'm actually embarrassed to show you the state it's in right now.


Eek! I know! Gross, right? A few years back I actually motivated my husband to finally get it organized. We pulled all of the junk he had been storing back there out into the yard and we actually refinished the concrete floor before organizing all of his crap and making it look respectable. He was going to use it as his office. He tried it a few times before retreating back into our guest bedroom, which became his office for a little while until he got an office away from home.


Slowly, I started moving my things in there. And it kept clean for a while, but lately it's turned into the vortex of doom - sucking in all of our accumulated crap. I've carved out a small pathway to be able to access my fabric stash but it's frightening endeavor.


So why, might you ask, did I choose today, of all days, to surmount this feat? Well, there are two reasons, really. One - I've been dreaming about doing this for well over a year now and I finally have some time to dedicate to doing it. And Two - Yesterday I broke down and bought myself this...


(I know!!! Can you believe it!!!) But I know how annoyed my husband gets at having my sewing stuff strewn all over our dining room in our very small house so I am not allowing myself to take it out of the box until I get this done. I'm looking at it as a reward for my effort. I can't wait to take it for a test run! Back to cleaning!