Sunday, 29 May 2022

Invisafil on Bernina Q20

Today I thought it might be useful to people to share how I use Invisafil from Wonderfil Threads. I have been using this thread for a while, initially only using it for stitch-in-the-ditch but lately also for freemotionquilting. Invisafil is a silk like 100wt, 2-ply cottonized polyester thread. Obviously very fine, I have been using it in preference to invisible Monofilament thread as it blends in like a dream.

This is my settting on the Bernina Q20
The tension is set on 2.0 and I am stitching in the ditch with the BSR2 stitch regulator. Needle-wise, I am using a Schmetz 70/11 Microtex needle to give me the finest stitch quality possible. The tension varies between 2.0 and 1.75 depending on what colour thread I am using. For the bobbin thread I am using a prewound 80wt Decobob thread.
For the tablerunner I am currently finishing, I am using both antique white and tan coloured Invisafil thread. While I have got a small selection of different colours of the thread I do not have a red thread to use, but you will see how well Invisafil can blend in even if it is a completely different colour.
Here are the colours
tan Invisafil thread
Antique white Invisafil
In the background you can see that I need to outline the blocks in white however also need to stitch down between the outer border and the inner red sashing. Red would have been good but I am going to use tan as an alternative.

Stitching-in-the-ditch around the blocks
The white Invisafil thread just sinks into the fabric.

Stitching on the red fabric with tan coloured Invisafil

This is what this looks like and where Invisafil shines. It has this weird ability to become almost invisible taking on parts of the surrounding colour. Obviously if you stitch over the seam you will see the tan thread, however if you go carefully it just sinks in...brilliant!
I then used the off white Invisafil to stitch around my snowmen
Following this I changed over thread and used a red 50/2 Aurifil thread to put a channel into the sashing. I left the prewound white Decobob as the bobbin thread to see how that would go. As usual ( never think much about what colour the backing is until I have to do the quilting) I had a backing that needed a white bobbin thread rather than a red. Normally I would match the Aurifil thread in the bobbin, but I thought it might be beneficial to have a finer thread in the bobbin in the hope that it would be completely pulled up into the wadding avoiding those pesky pokies that you sometimes get with different threads in bobbin and top.
Here is my top red thread...nicely embedded with no white pokies coming through.

...and here is the back

Must say, I was impressed...this was even better than I had expected, absolutely no red showing through. Very happy with that!

If you never tried Invisafil thread, I can really recommend that you give it a is the most versatile thread I have come across. It's weird ability to just blend in is just outstanding and I think, unmatched by other threads. 


Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Scrappy Squares Quilt Up and Running

Finished the write up and listing for the Scrappy Squares quilt in my Etsy shop.

Must say I am struggling with titles at times and it often stays as what first comes to my mind. Not very original but if I think too long about the title I never get going.

A couple of photos

The quilt measures 40in x 50.5in and is finished with an allover edge-to-edge design in an orange variegated Aurifil 50/2 thread.

Next is the last of my Snowmen table is already put together, just have to sandwich and quilt it... 


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Edge To Edge Quilting on the Sitdown Bernina Q20

I am finishing off my little side project and thought I do a post on how I put an edge to edge design on a quilt using a sitdown longarm machine. I did do an earlier post some weeks back but thought it might be interesting to people to see a more detailed description of the process.

As I am in a bit of a hurry I again used the Cloud Nine design by Patricia E. Ritter that I purchased as a self print design from Urban Elementz a few weeks earlier. I printed several pages of the design and then stuck it together to form one row to fit my quilt.
As you can see the design to be stitched is printed in black whereas the previous and next row is in a lighter grey colour. Starting off I traced the design (all of it) on Golden Threads paper. In order to cover an entire quilt you need many of those rows (some 10 rows for my small baby quilt). That of course becomes incredibly tedious to trace, so this time I tried something different, i.e. I stitched through several layers of Golden Threads paper from my first traced design to produce multiple copies in one hit. So, started off with the first row which was traced and stitched through.
I trace with a blue water soluble marker which is fairly faint however you can see that under the machine light. The reason for this is that I do not inadvertently want to transfer pencil marks or similar onto the quilt top. In terms of attaching the paper I use both, pins and removable glue dots. The pins are always at the top where I can see them because as you go down in rows you overlap the rows and if you have pins on the bottom it is easy to forget that and like I have done before, run over a pin. The glue dots are great...they stick to the fabric and paper but when you take them off, they come off with the paper. They do not leave any residue behind and the only danger is that you might stitch through one. While that is a bit of a hassle, it is way better than running into a needle.

Here is the first row stitched out. I am quilting this on the sitdown Bernina Q20, using the stitch regulator (BSR1) set at 9 stitches per inch. The BSR1 is the mode where the machine keeps stitching at a pre-determined speed even if you do not move the fabric anymore which means that when you stitch along in stitch regulation and come to a point where you momentarily stop to change direction it will take one or two stitches before you take off again which gives you a very crisp point. For the thread I used my trusted Aurifil 50/2 weight in a variegated orange colour, this time teamed with a prewound (Decobob). Quilting out the rows is incredibly quick...the design is a bit over 7in so you do quilt this in bigger sweeping movements which is easy to do with the stitch regulator (and a lot of fun!).

Once finished with the row, I start taking the paper out. In the photo you can see my little glue dot coming off with the paper.
I suppose you could leave the paper in, but I got used to taking it out row by row, so that I can see what I am doing. In terms of taking the paper out though, I do leave the part where the next row is (in light grey on the design which I also traced on) on the quilt because that serves for the alignment of the next row where the first and next row overlap. While I do check how my stitched row aligns, there will always be differences because once you get going you may not always stitch directly on the line, hence the traced beginning of the next row is the more important one for the next alignment.

So this is what this looks like...most of it taken out with just the bottom part left for alignment. The paper comes out easily (you can take it out bit by bit or tuck on it gently) and I find it quite relaxing sitting there taking out the paper. My points looked it a bit sloppy in parts on this first row, so I had to make a tension adjustment at this point to ensure that my points were nice and crisp.

Now for the big experiment...the stitched through rows. Wondered how that would go. 
This did not fill me with a lot of confidence as I am used to the traced design, but gave it a go and to my surprise that worked quite well. Next time though I might stitch that through with a bigger eye needle as I had problems seeing the row underneath once I overlapped the next row. However I managed and stitched my way down the quilt.

As you would have noticed I only stitch one row at a time, however as I came to the bottom this time I did try stitching two traced rows in one hit.
Yes, that worked, however I don't think I would do this all the this stage I was quilting towards me and I just had a lot of paper in front of me which was a bit difficult to negotiate. Also was a bit overwhelmed taking out two rows of paper.

Anyway, finished this today and am quite happy with how this turned out. A few little inaccuracies did creep in here and there, but that is to be expected with this method. The paper can shift a bit, you start to loose it a bit in terms of following your lines...mind you, some of that you can see as you stitch in the overlapped region and you can even that out a bit as you go along, particularly if you know the design well. I also check on my alignment as I quilt over the seams making a note where a particular element sits in relation to the seam. That lets me know how straight my row is. Again, it will not be a hundred percent but it should be similar as you move across your quilt.

The finished product

I quilted this over 2 days and I would say, all in all it took me about 6 hours. A bit more effort however I do like the look of edge to edge designs. The only limitation is that I have to choose simpler, more open  designs being mindful that I have to take the paper out. While it comes out easily it does get stuck in points and tight spaces, so you want to choose a design that has bigger distinct shapes to make your life easier.

Now, the binding and then I am back to my Background Filler project.


Saturday, 14 May 2022

Are We There Yet?

I have not posted that much in recent weeks because I am stuck on my background filler project. As usual the task is much bigger than expected and at the moment I am completing specific sections at snail pace!

This is what I am currently working on, i.e. the right side on the top. One little section in there took me ages to work out as I had to simultaneously think about the surrounding area and how this would all work out.

I must say, this project comes close to being a killer. Found some humour in it though when at various low points by thinking that I have finally managed to make quilting into an extreme sport. Thought this was too funny, took a bit of a break and have since continued on the right side with renewed energy. I am so close...once the right side is finished I literally only got two sections left on the left.
I reckon after this I will do another, more traditional wholecloth (we'll see 😆), something where I can just follow a pre-marked design.

So not much to report from here other than me being in a world of pain with the above project. Have managed though to baste my new pattern.
Love the look of this and while I did not want to spend that much time on quilting it, will likely do an edge to edge design (my new obsession). Definitely do not feel like stitching in the ditch and like the look of edge to edge designs.

Hopefully one of my next posts will be me having finished the background filler project and I can continue with the other projects that are slowly but surely accumulating (got five quilt tops from the Breaking Boundary class, a Snowman table runner and four charity quilt tops waiting to be done). 


Saturday, 30 April 2022

Another Little Quilt

Have to preserve my shoulder a bit at the moment from an excess of freemotionquilting, so worked on a new pattern instead hoping that the shoulder will calm down a bit.

This little quilt is made with a charm square pack from Elizabeth Hartmann called 'Terrarium'. I tend to pick up these charm square packs quite often and spontaneously and then I am often left wondering what to do with it. There are never enough pieces in it for an entire quilt or at least not for those quilts that require a repeat block design in a traditional layout. Either one pack gives you a relatively small quilt or you need to have two packs to make the blocks that you have in mind. This quilt was no exception. I needed 48, 5in pieces and of course had only 42 squares. Luckily, I had a coordinating border print and was able to cut a few more pieces from that and include a few more solid squares to make up the required number. 
Quite cute...there are little deer in some of the squares. Came out very green and now of course I do not have an appropriate backing in my stash as this was a somewhat unplanned in between project. Will have to wait until next week to be able to go down the shop to purchase some backing material. Would like a brownish backing but we'll see what they got.

The blocks are incredibly easy and fast to construct even though they have to be sewn using a partial seam, where you add other pieces until you complete the first seam at the end of the process. I have done this quilt before and had to think for a moment exactly how I constructed this, but once you work out the order of things it is an absolute breeze. You could easily complete this quilt top in a day. I think I might quilt an edge to edge design over it...lots of low volume prints on there so that show up nicely.

Pattern write up will have to wait for the moment as I am trying to get my Background filler quilt finished or at least close to finishing. As usual too many things on the go at once. 


Saturday, 16 April 2022

Still Working On Background Fills

Not much happening on this side of the globe.

Still working away on my background filler project. As usual, it is much bigger and time consuming than I had originally thought. However, I am getting a lot of practice in with some of the more unfamiliar shapes which is great.
I think that I now can do these little round flower shapes in my sleep. Also discovering which ones really flow for me and which ones to maybe leave for smaller areas. Definitely have overdone the pebbling a bit, I think, but have decided since then that this was meant to look like that...think forest floor or similar. We have had another lesson in the Breaking Boundaries class with Bethanne Nemesh since then, so there are even more fillers to explore. For now though I am going to keep it to some more floral motifs and possibly on the side some sort of straight line design before moving on to the second half of this piece. I have about the same area to fill in the second half and need to think that through for a bit.
Must say that this has been somewhat more challenging than I thought. I am using a wool batting which is giving me lots of nice puff, however it has also meant that I have to pay attention to in what order I quilt the various areas and has meant that I needed to break thread more often than I thought to cater for the compaction that is happening. I have found myself a couple of times in areas that had an alarming amount of puff which than needed to be quilted down and distributed evenly across. Definitely something I have to watch out for.
In other news, I have held my first freemotionquilting class the other day. That was very nice and very enjoyable. Had a lovely group of ladies who were keen to learn. It was actually very interesting to watch them quilt... some slow, some fast, a few ladies could freemotionquilt already a little bit while for some it was completely unfamiliar. I have freemotionquilted now for well over ten years and I was surprised at how much I could pick up just from watching them. We started with allover designs which are always a bit hard to do, especially if you are totally unfamiliar with the design. They all had a good go at it. The next class is background fillers which will be just a little bit more challenging as we will have to go more slowly and deliberately. Hopefully the ladies will throw in some practice in between. It will definitely test their patience and even more show how important sustained practice is. There is just no other way really of learning freemotionquilting unfortunately. Good fun ahead!


Monday, 4 April 2022

Background Texture

Currently doing Bethanne Nemesh' Breaking Boundaries class. It is as intensive as the Feather Fiesta class was that I have just finished with her. Very enjoyable and lots of learning and experimenting. She certainly packs a lot into those classes.

After a while I got a bit bored with my practice sandwiches and while I could have used the pre-prepared improvisational quilts, I decided to use a very colourful and interesting panel that I had in my stash. Yep, got majorly side tracked once again!

The panel is called Art Excursion by Denise Burkitt for Free Spirit Fabrics. 
It is very pretty with its vibrant colours and odd shapes. I was thinking that I may have finally bitten off more than I can chew. I started off with a loose plan to fill the wormy structures and then add backfill in the surrounding areas. Sounded easy enough but as I found out the transitioning is not that easy. As I go along I find that I start interpreting the fabric in different ideas emerge and the original plan has already been surpassed by impromptu decisions to do something completely different. Couple that with some unfamiliar background fillers plus stitching with 100wt Invisafil is making for an interesting journey. Bernina Q20 is behaving fabulously...I am using prewound decobobs in the bobbin and am stitching in manual.

Not entirely sure what this will look like when finished...I am hoping for an organic flowing picture over the surface that makes sense to me and the viewer (what exactly that picture is remains unclear at the moment) but I am also really aware that someone may look at it and see it as nothing more than colouring in a background. Very interesting exercise. So far I like the 'worms' best...seem to be able to do that for hours. The panel is quite large and I have heaps more to go with no firm plan anymore. Should be interesting to see how this develops. I am thinking that it could turn out to be a stunner or a complete and utter flop.
Linking up to Freemotion Mavericks at Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing


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