Monday, 21 July 2014

99 Hexagaons

It's very cold over here which meant that I could not spent that much time in the sewing room. Somehow the heater does not seem to reach that far and the room is seriously cold...not very conducive to FMQ when you are wearing heavy duty Ugg boots!

So I went into the lounge and continued on my hexagons...

I should call this quilt the $2 quilt. I found two packets of charm squares in the sales for only a couple of dollars some time ago and then I also found some matching bigger pieces for the borders for about $6. This will be a very cheap quilt indeed. Continued to cut out the fabric and glued them around my pre-purchased 2" hexagons.


I then laid out the hexagons...99 in total until I was happy with the distribution of colours. Oops, also noticed that I sometimes did not follow the directional fabric. Given the busy nature of the prints, this should not matter that much. Took a photo on the Ipad as a guide for the layout and have started sewing them together. Slow process...I am in my third row!

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch

Karin

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

WIP: Wholecloth - Almost Done

I cannot believe it...I am almost done! Managed to finish stitching feathers all around the border and like the way that looks. Actually felt that I do not like the inner border that much anymore...but, that's just too bad...maybe I have been looking at it for too long . I reckon I started this some time last year, initially fairly enthusiastic, but had the wind blown out of my sails with that huge area of microstippling. Definitely won't do that again, just too labour intensive (Famous last words).

Started the in-lining of the feathers. I am completely addicted to that look thanks to Patsy Thompson's web site and DVDs. Really like the look of that.

Making the feathers pop

Little bit closer

The Corner

Two more sides to go

Some detail re this quilt:
- the quilt measures about 35" square
- I used wool batting for this project. No particular reason other than that I had the batting at the time. In retrospect I think that a thinner cotton batting would have been nicer and if I had coupled this with some trapunto it would have really made the design elements stand out a bit more. Well, there is always next time.
- I was going to echo around the outside of the feathers in the outside border as well but won't now as some of my corners are closer together than others and an echo would really highlight this. 
- I need to find a new filler...the microstippling was absolutely crazy and took a while to complete.
- I use Aurifil thread Mako 50/2 for all my FMQ. I have been using this thread for the last 2 years and love that subtle sheen of the thread. It sews beautifully, I never have any issues with it and the colours are just gorgeous.
- I use my Springloaded foot (Pfaff 4.2) for quilting feathers. While I now have a new foot with the new machine (Dynamic 6D foot), I must say that I prefer that open toe foot when quilting feathers. I am used to this foot and feel that it gives me the best control of my stitching. Might just be a habit...I am sure that if I had learned feathers on the other foot, it would probably stitch just as well.

Just finishing off the in-lining and then the binding to go and this is actually done.

PS. Another resource to look at is the quilting of Wendy Sheppard over at Ivory Spring (look under
(Freebies, Ideas, Tutorials on the side bar for many tips on how to quilt feathers)

Linking up to Amy 's FMQ Adventures

Karin

Sunday, 13 July 2014

New Fabric

Here is a little present to myself



...and not bought on impulse! Have a definite project in my mind for this, however need to finish up on a few WIPs first.

Linking up to Sunday Stash over at Molly Sparkles

Karin

Monday, 7 July 2014

Progress on the Feather Border

First of all...thanks for the many comments on my last post about making my own feather stencil. Very much appreciated! Please make sure though that you are not a No Reply blogger...I had a few comments that I could not reply to.

I am making progress on my Whole Cloth quilt. Bit of a slow progress, but progress it is!

The stencil I made with the Golden Threads Quilting paper works great. As it is made from my own drawing the stitching flows nicely even when some of the chalk lines are becoming faint as I am used to the way that I draw them. This left me with a nice and even looking border and the right size for each plume to do some in-lining with a different thread colour later on. None of this is exact...when quilting along, I do not always follow the line exactly, hence the individual plumes on each side are not exact mirror images of each other. They don't really have to be...what counts here is the overall impression of consistency as I stitched them from the middle out. Very happy with the result and slowly will work my way around the border. 


A bit closer - same quilt under different light
Here are some tips for feather quilting:
- when you are drawing feathers, draw them the way you would stitch them...this will instantly show you when something does not flow right and will make it easier when you are stitching them.
- I have found that taking the plunge and putting feathers in borders is one of the best ways to learn. Even if you only do a small project, stitching feathers all around will mean that you are doing the same shape hundreds of times, over and over again...one of the most effective ways to get the shape imprinted on your brain. 
- I do not watch my stitch length, but concentrate more on the shape. With practice in FMQ you will eventually arrive at a stitch length that is right for you
- not every plume will look great...happens all the time. I don't sweat about it, but just keep going, as it will most likely not stand out at all.
- find your most comfortable way of stitching feathers. I use the backtracking method most of the time. When backtracking along the length of the plume I try to aim to stitch directly next to each stitch...the funny part is as I am aiming for that, I usually end up stitching back directly back over each stitch. In contrast, when I try to concentrate to go back in the same stitch, I do anything but that. If you find backtracking too bothersome, leave a little gap...looks just as good.
- I find it easiest to stitch feathers towards me. In this border though, I started in the center, so when I do the plumes to the right side of the center, this is not practical, as I have most of the bulk under the machine. In that case I start off with stitching the plumes away from me and then move slowly but surely to stitching them sideways. Trial and error works best here and I have accepted that this occasionally will lead to some wonky shapes.
- I often stitch feathers without the gloves... it gives me more control over the stitching
- take it slow and get into a rhythm. Feathers is not something you can hurry along ...I set my machine to the slowest speed and keep the speed fairly constant. I rely a lot on the sound of the machine and usually can hear when my rhythm is not right ( this sounds odd, a bit hard to explain).

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch which is hosted today by Diana from Red Delicious Life
Also linking with Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures as she is featuring feathers for the month of July.

Karin

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Making Your Own Stencil

Finally got around to looking at the Whole Cloth feather border again after finishing the center of my Squares Quilt.

Thinking about it more, I decided that I needed to use a stencil in order to stitch the plumes consistent in the border. I could have avoided this if I had decided to stitch each of my plumes right up to the edge but for some reason I don't want this for this quilt. I could have hunted around for an appropriate stencil but I like to make my own, particularly with feathers. Over time I have developed my own way of stitching them and if I draw them myself, they just flow better.

First, I divided my border in half and drew the measurements of the border on Golden Threads Quilting Paper. I left 1/4 inch room at the top and drew a 1/2 inch line on the bottom. I then used a curvable ruler and drew in the spine guide. As you can see my feathers will not go all around but meet in the corner.  I then drew the plumes along the spine, making adjustments here and there to get a consistent look. The objective is not perfection but overall consistency in terms of how much space I have got left at the top and bottom.

Drawing the feather onto Golden Threads Quilting Paper
When I was happy with my handiwork, I took that sheet as well as another sheet to the machine and stitched over it without threat (using a 90/14 needle), ending up with two copies of the stencil.

Stitching over the paper
 My favourite part...the chalk pounce! Did a bit of a sample here to see what this would look like. I tend to be a bit over enthusiastic with the chalk as you can see on the right side...but it does not matter, it all comes off with the hot iron.
Using the Chalk Pounce
Then I stitched one side out to see how it all flows...bought Angela Walter's Freemotion Quilting with Feathers Craftsy class the other day and watching it, it reminded me that I could also use the 'bump' method, i.e. back stitching at the top of the feathers. I mainly stitch feathers using the backtracking method, so in this sample I tried both methods. Must say, I think I will stick with the annoying backtracking...my feathers just flow better for me that way, even though I go off track every now and then
Stitched out sample
Glad I tried this out on a sample...my 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch spaces got swapped when flipping the stencil over. Something I will have to watch when going on the quilt.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Until next time

Karin

Monday, 23 June 2014

Graph Paper Quilt Along 2

After some frustration with my Whole cloth quilt, I spent some time earlier in the week to cut up a whole lot of country fabric and got a bit excited...it actually did make a dent in the stash.

Using up my stash

Love this dandelion fabric
I left them sorted into their colours, put them in little zipper bags, and with a quilt diagram next to the sewing machine started to sew the squares together. So relaxing and calming...just quietly following the quilt diagram.

Making a start

See that little tool next to the quilt diagram...this is my finger pressing helper. As I went through, I pressed the seams with this gadget, so that I did not have to get up at all. I chain pieced my squares together ...squares of several rows at a time, stopped, then put sections of individual rows together, then the row and so forth.

Not getting up to press the seams with the iron made this a very quick process. As I went along I marked any changes in fabric on my quilt diagram to avoid confusion as I sometimes did not have enough pieces to complete the plus (was not quite that organised in cutting up my stash).


Finished it today

Very happy with the outcome. Just need to sew the rows together now. The quilt will measure about 49" x 55" if I do not attach a border.

Linking up to Anything Goes Monday  over at Stitch by Stitch and the Graph Paper Quilt Along at Fabric Mutt

Until next time

Karin

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Bogged Down

Have nothing to link up anywhere much this week...very unsatisfactory.

I really got bogged down with my second feather border for my Wholecloth quilt. I don't know what it is but somehow the whole quilt took on a momentous importance. I started off marking a bit of a wavy line onto the border, even leaving a half inch space at the bottom, but not sure what happened then. Started my feathers on one side and then stood back to have a look at it...they looked nice, yes...but how was I going to match this properly on the other side?

Seems that I did not think that through at all. Paying no attention really to how I was travelling I just stitched the feathers how I felt like it, sometimes going right to the bottom and sometimes not...herein lies the problem...there was no way to reproduce this on the other side (unless I want to really drive myself mental)...I started half way down and then stopped. Have to rethink this somehow.  Either do informal, free flowing feathers or do the more formal approach of actually following the wave that I have drawn in keeping the plumes a similar shape and size, so that both sides match somewhat. While the stitching above looks nice, once the binding is on, it will be obvious that I followed the wave more closely on the right side.

Funny actually, as I have done this border before in a slightly smaller border and had no problem whatsoever. It seems that the little extra width has totally confused me. I also had to remind myself that this quilt was just for me to practice...it is not going to be the master piece of the century, nevertheless I got completely carried away over the week.

So, I put it to the side and just started to work on my Squares quilt, just sewing squares together...so calming and relaxing.

I think I will have to do some more thinking around this second feather border and make a decision before I start to stitch about what I want this to look like. Maybe I just overestimated my abilities or was not in the right head space. Probably need to mark my reference points better. The stitching of the feathers was fun though.

Watch this space.

PS. On the plus side, I worked out my issues with my Springloaded foot on the new Pfaff 4.2.  I use this foot now with the Dynamic Spring Freemotion quilting mode. When I was at the dealer the other day we talked about that the opening of the foot was creating a bit of an issue in the new model, not grabbing the thread at just the right moment some of the time. The Dynamic Spring Freemotion mode fixed that, but I also put one of those Magic Genie Bobbin washers in the bobbin to just lift the bobbin that little fraction. Stitched beautifully with not one skipped stitch.

Karin