Friday 23 October 2020

Quilts Do Talk!

I made a start on my Scrappy Houses quilt. I pieced this during lockdown and had everything prepared, even the binding. First I needed to cut my pieced backing to size.
Pin-basted for a good half day to preserve my back taking it real easy.

Thinking I was going to do either an edge-to-edge or an overall design, I spent some time machine basting the whole thing to get rid of all the pins in preparation for this. I used a fairly thin (Warm & Natural) batting for a bit of a change and while I was machine basting  I was really quite taken with its flatness. Funny enough I machine basted it in a grid when normally I would have just noodled all over it, so I think my head was already going into a different direction.
This quilt is for us...for next winter in front of the TV. I need this to be well quilted, but pliable and soft at the same time. As I was stitching along I was actually quite taken with how marvelously straight everything was (not the usual for me) and started thinking about the quilting process. Doing an allover design would work great on a scrappy quilt however could also mean that some of my sashings would not appear as straight due to going over at different angles and through some of the pushing and shoving that occurs going through the throat space of the sit down machine. 
Also remembered that some of our well used quilts from years ago when I was just starting off and did mainly overall meanders showed some weakness around the seams in the borders as I did not ditch them. I could, of course, ditch around major seams and then do an allover design...but doubt had set in. I really quite liked the strong geometric look.
Then I looked at my houses...they just look great and I thought that they maybe should be brought out more.

Long story short...this quilt was screaming at me to be quilted in the ditch! So I am thinking that I will SID around the major seams and houses and then do some loose background fill around the houses in each block to bring them out more. Probably will leave sashings blank but put some sort of geometric design in the border. Again, it will have to be something simple, so the whole thing does not get too stiff. Or maybe a more organic border design...I have got some nice designs in the many books and resources that are floating around (which I re-discovered during my recent clean-up of the sewing room). 

So what started out as ‘let’s just quickly finish this’ will take considerably longer, however I am actually quite excited about this. Should be good fun.


Tuesday 20 October 2020

New Machine

Well, I've done it! I upgraded to the Bernina Q20. Originally I was going to look at the new Q16 but then I saw the Q20 and thought that I might regret not getting the longer machine. 20in throat space which is really quite big and very nice to work with.
And here she is
I have never owned a Bernina machine and was initially quite intimidated by the machine as I literally knew nothing about the interface ( I am a die hard Pfaff person). So, I sat down to practice...initially I did some practice samples to get used to the back kick and the steps I had to take to get it to do what I wanted it to do. After a few runs I got bored and thought it would be good to do a quilt from beginning to end.
I pulled out a baby panel that I had, pinned it and then basted over it with the machine and then set out to stitch around all the shapes. 
I did chose to do this with Inviafil thread...probably not the most clever choice as you start out! I had a bit of shredding of the thread until I figured out what needle to use. The Bernina uses domestic sewing machine needles and I must say, I am a bit rusty on my knowledge of the different size needles to be used for what. But we got there in the end. For the background quilting I chose Aurifil 50/2 Mako cotton thread and that went without a hitch. Practiced a lot with the stitch regulators at varying speeds and also did a fair amount in manual to just get a feel for it. Good fun!
Finished that little panel today. Got a bit carried away though...saw a video from Natalia Bonner the other day about a scalloped border and decided to give that a try while I was at it. 
Came out really nice and almost looks like applique. Quilting is a bit sloppy in parts as I experimented with speed and regulation, however that does not matter that much, still pretty cute.

After this, I sat down and did a thread sample, not that you can see any of the details. But I basically went along trying different threads, getting a bit of an idea how the tension behaves. That was quite valuable as I also tried a number of different colours from Aurifil. While most colours gave me a
similar tension, some of the colours gave me a completely different value, something that I had noted in the past from time to time. The reason for that I believe has to do with the dye of the thread, although today I also came across an off white colour that was completely different to any of the other spools. No idea why.

Next on the agenda is a 'real' quilt, i.e. my Scrappy House quilt that I finished during lockdown. I am thinking to do an edge-to-edge design on it, but we shall see...not sure whether that is do-able as it is not a small quilt and I remember doing this before on a baby quilt which was quite arduous. 


Saturday 10 October 2020

Re-organising Sewing Room Again!

Not a very interesting post, but it is time that I check in again. I am not quilting at all at the moment as I am planning to re-organise my sewing room. Somehow the set up that I have had for at least the last 3 years is just not working properly for me. I spent the last few days cleaning up and cleaning out. Amazing...all the little bits and pieces that I found! Not so amazing was the accumulation of dust and fluff just about everywhere.
Anyway, cleaned up my table in preparation to swap it over for a slightly smaller one...this one is  just too big for this room.
The white thing underneath is a very handy IKEA drawer unit where I keep all machine quilting related stuff. Unfortunately with it sitting under the table I frequently hit my knee on it as I am a bit boxed in through the shelf in my back. Finally had enough of that.
Then there is the sewing machine in its Horn table.
Does not look like much as it’s nicely folded up at the moment. When extended, it is quite big. Have been looking around for smaller sewing cabinets, however not really that thrilled with what I have come across. My sewing cabinet is great, so for the time being I will hold onto it and try to make it work.
Over the weekend I am going to shift everything around to see whether I can come up with a better layout. 
At the moment I am thinking to shift my sewing machine into the corner where the table is and place the blasted bookshelf on the other wall, together with a slightly smaller cutting table. 

Wish me luck...this is going to be very interesting.
On a positive note, given I am not quilting at the moment, the house has never looked cleaner...have done all the floors, the washing plus the folding, cleaned some windows...will have to stop this as it is becoming increasingly obvious where  and on what I usually spent my time on 😆😜


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