Sunday 29 November 2015

November 2015 FMQ Challenge

Managed to finish my pillow on time.

Quiltshopgal's November challenge featured Sarah Vedeler as the expert freemotion quilter. I chose option 4, finally using Sarah's Accuquilt Go 'heather feather #1 cutting die. Now this took me a very long time. I do not do a lot of applique and had to re-acquaint myself with my machine (see post about the tapering function HERE). Also underestimated the time it took to satin stitch around each shape. This literally had to be done at snail pace to get the curves nice and round. I think I started about the middle of November so was starting to feel the pressure.

When it came to the FMQ, I chose to use one of Patsy Thompson's fillers, plumifying around the shapes. I had seen it before in several of her pieces and had tried it a couple of times on little practice pieces. I recently purchased Patsy Thompon's 'Ultimate Freemotion Feathers' on Craftsy...just could not help myself, even though I have her whole Feather DVD collection. Just love her classes and was not disappointed with this one either...always something new to learn. Anyway, in that class she demonstrates the background filler and several variations of it, so I thought I give that a go.
Plumification galore
Bit hard to see on the white backgound but I did struggle a bit with keeping a consistent scale as I was going around the shapes. Like Patsy did say though, it is a very useful filler and lends itself well to filling every available space. This was a great exercise as it is different to fill out an empty little practice space compared to going around various applique shapes. I pretty much did my own really have to let go of the perceived rules for any FMQ design and find your own rhythm and way.

The back turned out heaps better
Background filler on the back...getting better
Much more consistent and relaxed and considering the space I had to fill it actually went relatively quickly.
Close up

The pillow looks great
Front of the pillow
Back of the pillow
And another one for good measure...the latest pillow with some of the other challenge pillows in the backgound.
Completed all but one of the challenges...another one to go. Almost sad to see this challenge end. I must say, I did learn so much over the year.

Linking up to Quiltshopgal's November 2015 FMQ challenge.


Wednesday 25 November 2015

From Idea to Actually Getting It Down On Fabric

Working on the November 2015 FMQ challenge that is held over at Quiltshopgal. I am using the Accuquilt GO die "Heatherfeather" from Sarah Vedeler for this challenge ...finally! (purchased this over a year ago and have not used it yet)

Here is the idea

All cut out and ready to go. As I used two different colours I had enough to make an identical second arrangement for the back but then started playing around a bit with the leftover shapes
This little arrangement looked nice however after having used up some of those shapes to practice my applique skills on (which were very rusty indeed), I settled on another arrangement for the back.
Had a lot of fun playing around with this...there are many different arrangements you can come up with from this one die.

Spent quite some time sharpening my skills using the satin stitch around the applique shapes and also finally conquered the tapering function on my machine (see previous post)

Applique for the front of the pillow all done

Arrangement for the back of the pillow
This has taken me a very long time and was a lot harder than I had anticipated...mainly because I do not do applique very often. The first few shapes that I practiced on looked fairly rough and I realised that I had to literally go... stitch...move over a bit...stitch...move over...there was no way of hurrying this along if you wanted to get the curves nice and round.

I am now at the stage of stitching around it with a 100wt Invisafil thread (my new favourite thread replacing the clear Monofilament thead) and then finally I can get cracking on the freemotion-quilting. I am thinking plumes for the background fill in a blend in neutral thread to give it texture. Have recently bought Patsy Thompson's new Craftsy class " Ultimate Free-motion Feathers" which is full of FMQ goodness including a section on "plumifying" the background. Highly recommended!

Remains to be seen whether I can finish this in time.

Linking up to Freemotion By The River


Saturday 21 November 2015

Craft and Quilt Fair

Spent the whole day at the Craft and Quilt Fair a couple of weeks ago.

Had a list of things I wanted to purchase however could not find lots of the things that I was after...will have to make some Internet purchases there was no stand with Aurifil thread!

As always lots to see and try out. I specifically spent some time at the sit down midarm machines...unfortunately here in South Australia there are currently only two available...the Handiquilter Sweet 16 and the new Bernina Q20 (I think that is the name). Both stitched fantastically well, of course and all I can say is...I want one! It is actually not so much the space around the side of the machine that I am after, but more the height of the machine. When freemotion-quilting on the DMS, I do sort of hunch over and look on the side to see where I am going. With the set up of the midarms there is visually very little distraction and the height allows you to see clearly where you going and where you are coming from. Very nice indeed! Will have to think some more on this...

Anyway, here are my purchases for the day...

Bought this beautiful Robert Kaufman panel (Imperial Collection) for half price. Normally I do not go for the panels however this caught my attention as there is heaps of empty space to fill in with some detailed FMQ.
I am thinking concentric circles or maybe cannot see it properly in this photo but the beige top part has the same faint cranes as in the black background...oh, the fun...this will be great!

Very excited about this.

Also bought a range of blue fabrics (and some mustard tones just because)
Working on blue hexagons at the moment in my spare time so this will keep me going for a while.

Picked this for the November FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal.


Thursday 12 November 2015

Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2: Tapering

Finally getting around to write about tapering on the Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.2

Tapering lets you decrease or increase the width of a stitch at a particular angle to create symmetrical or asymmetrical tapers. This is a fun program that I also had on my previous machine...
see the little bag that I made some years ago.

It is a fun thing to play with but takes some time to get used to and get the hang of it.

For my next pillow for the 2015 FMQ challenge over at Quiltshopgal I decided to use my Heather Feather Accuquilt die (design by Sarah Vedeler) that I purchased a good year ago. As Sarah Vedeler is this months' expert this seemed like the perfect opportunity. When I made the bag above, I had instructions from the Pfaff site...must admit that I have not used this function since then as I hardly do any applique work.

So out came the manual...
This is what the screen looks like when you hit the F1 button and then long press on one of the angles which brings up the whole program
Now I remembered that I had some difficulty last time with working out the different directions of the angles and this time was no different. I decided to spent some time on this to get my head around it once and for all. The way this made sense to me is as follows
- the top row provides for asymmetrical angles to the right
- the middle line is for symmetrical tapers at various degree, i.e. your sewing comes to a point
- the bottom row provides for asymmetrical angles to the left
If you look at my sample (top left) and take the first taper at 45degrees that is marked 'top' for the top row, you would go into the program and press 45 degrees once only for the taper at the end. As you can see you would be stitching along and then press the reverse button to activate the taper and the machine will taper the stitch at a 45 degree angle. If you then set your beginning taper at 45 degrees and turn your piece at a 45 degree angle and start again you will get a perfectly aligned corner to the right. Very neat!

You can see I then did a 60degree symmetrical taper, another 45degree taper to the left and so on...also tried the 30 degree taper on the right side of my sample but that takes some practice to align properly. The other thing I wanted to show you is the versatility of the can be used on many of the decorative stitches and create quite spectacular designs, i.e. the Greek Key stitch that also featured on the bag above (now some of those tapers do not line up because of pure sloppiness on my part).

Some people have commented on the net re the tapering and how hard it is to judge distances, i.e. when you should start your taper.  Agree with certainly takes some practice and knowing how this works. For example, the Greek Key design in the middle. I started with the beginning taper at 45 degrees, then the machine moves on to the next stitch and that is when you have to press the reverse button, i.e. you need to be clear about when you are on the stitch before the taper. For some of the stitches this will be easy to see however like for the Honeycomb or the stippling stitch it will not be as obvious.

Just discovered that I can get the machine to help me with that by using the Sequence function. If you look at the far right side I stitched out the Honeycomb stitch with tapers at each side. I went into the Sequence program and decided that my stitch would consist out of 6 units of honey comb. I then put a Stop behind each of the six units (I had 3 of them). When stitching this sequence, I started with the beginning taper and when the stitch reached my 6 units, it stopped. Then did the next 6 units and activated the taper, as I was in the stitch before the taper, stopped again and did the last tapered down version of the Honeycomb...while a bit labour intensive, this certainly helped in working out exactly where I was and when I had to press the button...will play a bit more with this.

Anyway after all this, I managed to stitch down my plume shape with the 60 degree symmetrical taper
Not totally lined up but it worked very well, just needs a bit of practice. With the satin stitch you do get a feel for when you need to start activating the taper.

And here is what I am working on

Hope this helps


Friday 6 November 2015

Still Doing Bags

Finished another one of those excellent Victoria Tote bags that I did in September (find two of the posts HERE and HERE)

Well, had some of that nice modern zigzag fabric left over and promptly finished another bag, this time a size in between as the last bag got a bit very roomy. This time I enlarged the original pattern by just an inch. That just left enough for the handles and a little piece for some additional pockets inside.

Used this very nice french inspired fabric for the lining
Had only bitses of fusible fleece left , so I started to piece them together as I was too lazy to make a trip to the shop. I do this with wadding, so saw no reason why this should not work with fusible fleece.
Piecing the fleece together worked absolutely fine
Put a zipper pocket in and the magnetic closure like in the original bag and then included some pockets on the other side using the last of the zigzag fabric.

Here is the finished bag

Came out very cute and will be claimed by my other daughter in due course.

I think that might be it for a while in the bags department...will need to get going on my next pillow for the November FMQ Challenge at Quiltshopgal. Bought some nice fabric at the local quilt show for this...

Until next time


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