Thursday 11 July 2024

To Do Tuesday #81

My task from 2 weeks ago was to finish my stitching in the ditch of my background filler project - Done! While happy with that I am a bit anxious about how the middle section will quilt out as I got the two seams running through the orange fabric. Not sure whether this will work out so good, but we shall see.
That's the only task I had put down as we had our annual quilt show over here and I knew that I would not do anything much else.

The quilt show was great, even more so as I won two awards for my wholecloth quilt.

This was the Festival of Quilts 2024 run by the SA Quilter's Guild. My wholecloth won first place in the 'Other Category' and a Special Award for Excellence in Machine quilting on a stationary longarm.

I was chuffed to say the least! Funny thing happened though. Normally you get a phone call a few days before the award presentation. Well, I did not get a phone call, hence thought that I had missed out and as it was a very cold and wintery evening I did not go to the award presentation. The next day I went to the quilt show and whilst there, a friend texted me to congratulate me on my win. I was absolutely gobsmacked and it took a few minutes for that to sink in. Went over to the display of the quilts and lo and behold there is was with those ribbons. Made my day...I was particularly happy with the Excellence in machine quilting for this piece as this must have been the first wholecloth I am truly happy with in terms of workmanship. It measures about 36-3/4in and was quilted with Aurifil 50/2 thread in a gold type colour and then I used 100wt Invisafil to quilt the background in a matching colour. It was nicely flat where I wanted it to be flat and perfectly straight. Was so impressed with that. If interested, I posted some close-up shots HERE.

Apart from this, I did finish my ugly jumper project
The colours are just hideous (chosen by my daughter when she was much younger). I made this jumper as a knit-along while my daughter attempted to knit this raglan following a pattern from a book she bought. As I am a bit out of practice with knitting I thought that I better knit along to see how this works in case my daughter had questions. Well, her jumper has become an UFO...and I was left with this monster of a project. Over the last few weeks I have made my way through this pattern...thankfully this is a short jumper, as the young ones are currently wearing. Had a few problems with the shaping of the arm and the weight of this thing (it is knitted top down in one piece, but otherwise quite easy to do. Got a bit enthused with this and will make this again for myself but in a solid colour and longer. Quite enjoyed knitting in the evenings when watching TV.

Also made some headway on my second sock
Got sick of having so many unfinished things lying around. Managed the heel and the shaping of the gusset today and now it is just knitting in the round the length of the foot. Again another nice TV project.

In terms of tasks I am unsure what to put on my list at the moment as there are a number of things I am working on (and they are all competing for attention)
- make a start on the quilting for the background filler project
- finish the sock
- watch Bethanne Nemesh' Sweet Tooth class that I bought earlier in the year and pull out some fabric
- make a cover for my Q20 (have been avoiding this for a while and need to work out an easy covering - the ones that I have seen have zippers and openings looking very difficult)
- drop off the charity quilt and get some new ones to quilt.
- make a fox block

Well, we shall see...I could have extended this with other tasks but this is just getting confusing now. Probably need some time to re-hash my plans.

Linking up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday #81


Saturday 6 July 2024

Festival of Quilts 2024

I had the bestest time at the show! The atmosphere was great, the vendor hall so very tempting and on top of that I had the biggest surprise on the day.

As my readers would know (I talked about this for weeks on end) I entered my wholecloth quilt into the show. I have entered quilts before in the show and was familiar with the process. Normally if you win an award you do get a phone call a few days before to attend the award presentation. Well, I did not get a phone call so told everyone in the family that I did not win an award this year. Went to the show on the Friday to take some photos of my quilt and spent some money in the vendor hall. Had a fabulous time and was just at the Wonderfil stand when a friend texted me from the show grounds congratulating me!!! She sent a photo of my quilt. I was absolutely stunned and somewhat gobsmacked. Had not looked at the display as yet and actually went over to have a look. 
Won two awards: First place in my category which was 'Other Techniques' and also a Special Award for Excellence in Machine Quilting. Made my day...I am so very pleased with this.
Apparently somebody forgot to ring for this category. Bit of a pity that I did not get to the award presentation, but realistically I could have gone of course even if I did not win, however it was a rainy and very cold evening so I did do some knitting instead.

So finally I can share some process photos which I have been waiting for:

Finished project: can honestly say that this is probably the first time I was really happy with every aspect of my workmanship (...and this is big for me, does not happen that often!)
The centre motif: stitched with a combination of rulers, freehand and also used one of Cindy Needham's stencils (rope) for the inner border.
Lots of feather arrangements
Amish Curling Feather border: put the learnings from one of Bethanne Nemesh' workshop ( I think it was called Feather Fiesta) into practice
Lots of texture: chose to do mainly tiny lines in the background. While the main elements were stitched with Aurifil 50/2 thread I did use 100wt Invisafil thread of the same colour to totally flatten the background. Included a little bit of a microstipple in the feather centers, however that was tedious and very heavy-going on the eyes. 

I am so glad I finished this. This was a design that I started back in 2018 when I did a workshop with Cindy Needham. Was so enthused in her class that I drew up an entire wholecloth in the class. I was going to stitch this out but as the design needed several tidy ups never quite got around to it. Over the years then I altered the design several times...never quite happy with it until last year when I finally had enough and spent the time to finalise the design.

Well, onto the next project...


Thursday 27 June 2024

Another Tote Bag - to Do Tuesday #79

This is what I was supposed to be doing last week:

- finalise my quilt show entry ...only need to put a cover on the label, prepare my bag and that's it!)
- finish the quilting-in-the-ditch on my background filler project
- continue to knit in the evenings ( currently trialing a raglan jumper and also need to make a start on a second sock)
- keep looking at my Etsy shop until the pressure becomes so great that I will actually start on a new pattern.

Well, have not done a lot of this other then getting my quilt show entry ready. Instead I tidied up my sewing room a bit (always dangerous) and found this
The cool cat fabric...bought at a quilt show, I cannot even remember how long ago. Had just enough for two panels and with that I got side tracked into making another bag.
I used an old pattern from Rebecca Mae Designs called the Victoria Tote bag. I made this bag several times already over the years for myself and also my daughters. The bag is just so useful...just the right size to carry all the essentials, with a zippered pocket to put your phone or the house keys in and it holds your water bottle comfortably as well. Always liked this bag and have used mine a lot. So rather than looking for a new pattern I used this tried and trusted pattern again.

Turned out lovely
Nice and sturdy. Would have been great if I would have had more fabric to match the cats up on each side, but I only had two identical panels, so the sides do not match. Still is fun to look at and I actually used the fabric for what it was intended for.

For the remainder of the week I will put down only one task because next week is the quilt show week and I know that I will not be doing much.

In the meantime I will try to finish off my stitching in the ditch on my background filler project. Almost done, only a few more lines to go and then the fun of Freemotion will start in earnest.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #79 over at Quilt Schmilt.


Wednesday 19 June 2024

Quilting With Invisafil - To Do Tuesday #78

Last week I planned for:
- to sew up a cover for my label for the wholecloth and also prepare the hanging sleeve✅
- maybe make a start on my next background filler project
- seriously look at a new pattern for my Etsy shop (which I have neglected over the last few months). - Well, I did look at it, but that's about all!

I started on my background filler project with the rather tedious task of quilting in the ditch. As this is an improvisational piece the quilting in the ditch has to be done largely freehand. A definite skill to practice! I am using Invisafil 100wt from Wonderfil Threads for the most invisible stitch in the ditch Using three different colours:
Antique White on the left, Orange (in the background) and Nude on the right (Yep, started another thread collection). I could have used just the nude colour...this would have blended nicely with everything as Invisafil does blend into the colour you are quilting, but given that I had the other colours as well, I used them for the most invisible finish.
Many people find Invisafil fiddly. Must say I don't...I have my tension on the lower end (on the Bernina Q20 on 2.25), use Decobob prewounds (80wt) in the bobbin and go in manual mode rather slowly. Never had any issues with that.
The thread just sinks in and virtually becomes not noticeable. Gives a really nice finish. Also made use of my new foot, the 72 S...a ruler foot with a slit, so you can switch between sewing feet if you need to without cutting your thread. Actually forgot that I got this...I have a couple of straight lines in this piece and only remembered when I was about to change the foot. 

So, I am working away at this, hoping that I can start the freemotionquilting some time next week.

For the remainder of the week I am going to
- finalise my quilt show entry ...only need to put a cover on the label, prepare my bag and that's it!)
- finish the quilting-in-the-ditch on my background filler project
- continue to knit in the evenings ( currently trialing a raglan jumper and also need to make a start on a second sock)
- keep looking at my Etsy shop until the pressure becomes so great that I will actually start on a new pattern.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #78 over a Quilt Schmilt.

Happy Quilting


Tuesday 11 June 2024

The Nude Quilt

Finished the quilting on another charity quilt which I ended up calling 'The Nude Quilt'. It is an exceptionally well made quilt top...the seams mainly line up and the maker has taken great care in painstakingly cutting out a motif to put into the corner stones for the sashing. Those little corner stones are just 1-1/2in squares, so that would have taken a lot of patience to cut out. The motifs then re-appear in the striking border. 
The corners are neatly mitered. Love the muted colouring of this quilt and am assuming that the fabrics are quite old. Love doing these charity quilts. When I am quilting these, I am always wondering who made this, for what purpose...was it meant to be a gift or did somebody just love the colours of the fabric.

Anyway, initially I was going to do some ruler work in the charm squares, however then decided that this quilt would look best if I just ditched it. It is wonderfully flat and having just stitched in the ditch lets the fabric choices shine. I decided that this is what the maker must have had in mind.
See those little corner stones...too cute! Like little diamonds all over the quilt.

I have not done stitching -in-the-ditch for a while and thought I practice cutting my thread tails off rather than burying them. Well, that did not work for me...I did cut a few off but went straight back to burying my threads. Not that it does not does, I just find it really difficult to trust that and straight away fall back into burying those threads.

A little bit about my machine. I am stitching on a Bernina Q20 and was reminded the other day that some people might find it useful to read about the settings and how I use this machine.

I stitched in the ditch with my favourite ditch ruler from Handiquilter (the right one in the photo below)
I like it because it has the quarter inch notch on both sides, so I can easily switch between stitching on top of the seam or next to it which is handy when you are stitching down a quilt and the ditch side of the seams of each block alternate as you go down the quilt.
In terms of settings, I do all my ruler work in BSR2 (which is the Precision Mode on HQ), i.e. the needle stops moving when I stop moving the fabric in contrast to BSR1 where the needle keeps going when you stop moving the fabric. Find that just a bit precarious with a ruler next to the needle.
For this quilt I had just the right coloured thread, in fact it was a perfect match with the red of the sashing.
It is one of the small Aurifil spools that I acquired a long time ago when I was still stitching on the DSM. I have a side spool for the machine, however the thread is wound crosswise, so I put it on the top as per normal and it worked just fine. No problem at all.
Also used a different thread in the bobbin as the backing was multi-coloured. Chose a soft pink that just sunk into the fabric. Had no pokies either top or bottom as both threads were Aurifil 50/2 weight. With a little bit of care when setting the bobbin and top tension you can absolutely avoid pokies. The domestic sewing machine needles that this machine uses of course helps with that. I stitched this with an 80/12 Jeans needle. Strong needle with a fine point and good to use when you quilt with some speed.

What next for me?

Missed out on the To Do Tuesday Link Up again for 2 weeks, I think. Since then I finished my wholecloth and am currently preparing it for the show. Will show photos of the wholecloth in July once the show is happening as my entry is a juried one so you cannot have photos of it circulating. Am I happy with it? I am, however it does look rather plain so not sure how it will go. Always interesting at quilt must be interested in FMQ to recognise the amount of work and effort that goes into a wholecloth even a seemingly plain one.

For the week ahead I am planning
- to sew up a cover for my label for the wholecloth and also prepare the hanging sleeve
- maybe make a start on my next background filler project
- seriously look at a new pattern for my Etsy shop (which I have neglected over the last few months).

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #77To Do Tuesday #77 over at Quilt Schmilt

Happy Quilting


Saturday 8 June 2024

Basting on the Q20

I love basting on the Q20 and have been using this function extensively.

One of the things I find extraordinarily useful is the programming that is possible for the Q20. It has five slots to occupy for different thread combinations that you use all the time. 
Here are the ones that I use most with Gutermann highlighted as I put this in as a new preset. Feeling a bit frugal at the moment and decided to use some of my older threads to baste my quilts to use them up. So I decided to use the old Gutermann thread. Must admit I am not one to believe that my machine loves a particular thread like I so often read in the various quilting groups. To me it is a machine and it needs to handle whatever I throw at it from very fine 100wt Invisafil thread to the more robust 40 TEX Rasant thread. Opening the slots will show you the settings that you have set, i.e. the setting for each of the modes (BSR1 - 3 plus Manual mode. With a bit of adjustment and tweaking I set up my machine for Gutermann thread the other day so that when I come to do some basting next time I only will need to hit the program button to select Gutermann and it will set itself to the settings that I have selected. Very handy! The only thing that has happened to me from time to time is that I forget to switch programs and for example quilt with Aurifil 50/2 thread at a setting for Rasant. 

I have a short video on how to baste on the Q20 on Pinterest if you are interested. Basically I just meander over the entire quilt stitching (carefully) around my pins and taking them out as I go along. I do use a highly visible colour in order to prevent accidentally ripping into my quilting when I take the basting stitch out. The basting has 3 different options on the machine, 1in,2in and 1/4in. I use the 1/2in option for the overall meander and the 1/4in feature to secure the edges of the quilt.

For my current quilt, which is a gorgeous little quilt from the Orange Tree Quilters charity group, I used a lime green thread instead of my usual red thread as there is a lot of red colour in the quilt.
The basting is very quick, in fact this was so easy to complete I basted another one of my quilts straight after. Once basted I can leave the quilt sitting around until I am ready to do the quilting. Nothing will move, the basting keeps everything nicely secured.
Another background quilting project coming up for which I will use Invisafil thread.

Felt very frugal this week as I also stitched some batting together to make one bigger piece for another quilt. Had lots of little leftovers though and spent some time to sew them all together. Made quite a sizable piece.
This will be for practice only as I sewed them together fairly roughly and also did not concern myself too much with the different quality of the batting. It's amazing though how much you can save by just sewing strips together. This will give me two decently sized practice bits.

Happy quilting!


Wednesday 15 May 2024

To Do Tuesday #74 - Getting back on track

My last recorded goals were:
 - continue to knit up the sock
- continue with the backfilling of the wholecloth
- maybe piece another fox which is already cut out and ready to go.

Now this is a while ago...things really got out of whack due to our kitchen renovation which has been dragging on and on. However, we are able to cook again (big plus!!) and there is an end in sight (or so one hopes).

I did finish my socks in all this mess and managed to continue on the wholecloth in starts and stops, however have not done any work on the fox blocks. 

This week then I had to focus in on the charity quilts which are required by the Orange Tree Quilter's group for next week. Thankfully I had my spot back where I usually baste my quilts and could make a start. Over the last two days I finished two charity quilts.

This one...
Very bright and vibrant. Finished that one with just an overall meander.

and then there was this one...

Much more my colours! Loved the indigenous fabric used in this quilt and was fairly bored with just meandering so I tried just wavy lines. Have wanted to do this for a while using some of my rulers. As this is for the charity group I had to keep the scale fairly large (the group does not want the quilts too heavily quilted). I think if I did this for myself I would reduce the distance between the lines by a good one inch. 
I used these two rulers
A Handiquilter Wave C ruler on the left and Amanda Murphy's largest wave ruler. While I could have done this freehand I did want a bit more structure to this and wanted my lines to look randomly consistent. Probably the most relaxing quilting session that I have done in a while. I started from the middle out not following any particular method, literally just going for it. I did pay a little bit of attention to the spacing but that was about it. The piecing of the blocks provided me reference lines, i.e. some place where I could orient my rulers on, however if that was a bit out at times it really did not matter whatsoever as I was mostly straight. Very enjoyable to do and fairly quick to execute. looks great and suits this little quilt.

For the coming week I am thinking of:
- attaching a binding to the first charity quilt so that they are ready to go
- continue on my wholecloth background quilting. Have two more sides to fill in and that's it. then it is washing, squaring off and binding.
- prepare my online entry for the quilt show
- unlikely, but maybe finish one more fox block.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday #74 over at Quilt Schmilt when their link is up.


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