Tuesday 23 March 2021

Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars'

Finished all of the framework for the sashings and borders. I do not have a huge curve ruler (Natalia used a huge curve for her quilt), hence I used my Pro Echo #12 ruler to put the scallops into the border. That was challenging enough! In the end I just made it fit. Not ideal as the curves were slightly different all over, but in the end I doubted that this would feature much. Having done this, I  realised that my curves were too shallow for putting feathers in there, so I had to come up with something else.

Decided to put Ribbon Candy in there which looks very nice indeed. Ribbon Candy has become one of my most used designs. So very versatile.
Then I went on and filled the remainder of the border with Stacked Swirls.  Look at that texture!
This was a bit of work but I thought that this was the ideal piece to further practice the design.
Stitched this out in a day and today started to fill in the sashings of the first completed row with pebbles
That's it, will now wait to complete the next three stars on top of this row to fill in the next section (I am trying to avoid uneven compaction as I go along as that makes it harder to quilt your designs out. 


Tuesday 16 March 2021

The Jelly Roll Rug Experiment

This is something I had wanted to do for a very long time...

So, I cut myself about half of a jelly roll. I estimated that I had about 23, 2-1/2in strips put together from leftovers out of my scrap boxes. Some of them were the WOF but others I just sewed together to make an approximate jelly roll strip. I did not go for the whole 40 strips that a jelly roll usually has as I was really unsure whether this would work for me. Had watched a few videos and also read some blog posts about it and was somewhat intimidated. The pattern for a jelly roll is by Roma Quilts and can be purchased on Etsy.

I had a roll of cotton batting (Rainbow batting from Matilda's Own) that was cut to 5cm, so a bit shy of the 2-1/2in that Roma Quilts is using. However, I did do a basket with this before and it works just as well, maybe even a bit easier as there is slightly less bulk. So, off I went to create the strips...that was actually rather difficult in terms of colour coordination and imaging what that might look like. Always looks so easy in a jelly roll!

Here is my ball of strips
Initially struggled to put the strips together but after a while you get the hang of it and with the help of those wonder clips it goes through the machine quite easily. Struggled big time with the first few strips of the rug and trying to get around a corner. Also got very confused with direction and had to re-start a couple of times. But eventually got it.
Once you get over the first few rows it becomes relatively easy to go around. I set my zigzag stitch at 6mm long and 2mm wide. Would have liked it a bit smaller but my zigzag kept skipping stitches and I figured that this was because I was hitting the sewing line of the strips, so I had to set it a bit higher to avoid this. I used a 90/14 Jeans needle...maybe I should have gone one higher, i.e. 100/16 (only found these when I had already finished this).

Here is an action shot
I had no problem with my rug in terms of waviness. I just steamed it after the first few rows as it was somewhat lifting on the curves due to the strain of going around the corner, but after that it remained flat as a pancake even without steaming. Also thought that I would have to pull my sewing table out to put the extension on the back, however given that it remained flat, I just lifted it when going around the corner. No problem at all. Was really surprised that I did not have more issues with that.

Well, here it is

Turned out fabulous! In terms of colour choices I got it almost right...I thought I would have a nice black edge around the whole thing, however obviously did not allow for the size of the thing. Would have been good if a had the black going around the edge a couple more times (something to watch out for next time). Also, the skipping of the stitches continued to be an issue, so every now and then I had to reverse stitch to cover that which looks a bit unsightly in places. I used a beige Rasant thread...again, in retrospect maybe should have gone for a tan colour.

My rug came in at about 21-1/2in x 32-1/2in, much bigger than I had anticipated actually, but wow, I am so impressed with this. Took me 2 days to do!

Definitely will do this again.

Linking up to Oh Scrap! over at Quilting is more fun than Housework.


Wednesday 10 March 2021

Edge to Edge Design On Sit Down Longarm

Working on finishing my 'Block Quilt'.

This is a new pattern for my Etsy shop. Will have the write up done in the next couple of weeks. Basically I constructed this one to again try an edge to edge design on my sitdown longarm. So once basted and secured around the edges, I was looking for a design.

First though I did some serious thread testing. I have got this variegated Superior Fantastico (40wt) thread and for the life of me I was going to use this on this quilt. Had some problems with this thread in the past and was determined to work out what this thread needed in the bobbin.
This is what that looked like...did little samples for days!
Problem also was that I have a purple backing...duh, did not think about thread colour  when putting this together. Usually people use Bottom Line in the bobbin for Fantastico thread. I have some Bottom Line spools and one cone, but unfortunately all in white to beige tones, so this was not going to be an option. Had read somewhere that it is good to pair a more grippy thread in the bobbin with polyester on top. Tried a purple Rasant thread but somehow I had some fuzzy stitching on the back. Not necessarily bad tension but some fuzzy stitches (as if the needle was damaging the fabric). Next I fiddled with Aurifil 50/2 in a grey colour...that could work but still had some fuzzy stitching here and there. Tried So fine thread and that worked very well. The strange fuzziness on the back disappeared mostly, however only had that in a sort of tan colour. In the end, I ended up using the grey Aurifil colour and with some fine tuning, including going to a different needle,  got the tension not perfect but way better than in previous attempts.
In the end I chose the same edge to edge design that I did about two months ago...Daisy Dotz#2 from Urban Elementz. Just love that one and thought it would be a good exercise to do it again (anyway that was my excuse).
Starting off...
I am using Golden Threads paper...drew the design with a blue water erasable pen on it and attached it with sticky glue dots which you can get in a stationary shop. That works like a treat. The glue dots adhere very easily to the paper and you can just stick this on your fabric. No residue...they pull off easily as you pull off the paper. Will also try to pre-stitch this design to make multiple copies in one hit as was suggested by a reader when I did this last time, as the tracing does get tedious as you go along.

Absolutely love doing this
The design is not too arduous in terms off getting the paper bits off and looks great. Wondering whether this might be a bit much in terms of looking a tad busy as this is not exactly a calming quilt. However, now I am committed and will just run with it. Remembered that I was thinking exactly the same when I did this design on another quilt.


Sunday 7 March 2021

New Pattern Coming Up

This is going to be my new pattern...a quilt that you can literally construct in a day! While it looks simple it does require being able to work with partial seams, so hopefully I will be able to get my diagrams right so that people can follow this. Otherwise it is obviously super simple and quick to come together. It reminds me of the colourful wooden blocks that the kids used to play with.

I do seem to like bright colours...did not think twice about putting all those bright screaming colours together. Maybe because the last quilt I made was just so pastel and while quite pretty, pastel really does not appeal to me at all.

I will quilt this with an edge to edge design, probably in variegated thread. Just noticed that I have no batting, so this will have to wait a few days to be put together. Looking forward to the quilting part.


Tuesday 2 March 2021

Block #3 of Natalia Bonner's 'A Year of Stars' Quiltalong

This is Block #3, the Union Star, all quilted out following Natalia Bonner's instructions on YouTube.

Not much to say about this block. Took my time with it and had lots of starts and stops as I did not want to travel in my ditch excessively. Found this quite easy to do but put in a few 'helper marks' to hit the right points and to keep my lines straight. 

Also made a start on the sashing...I think there are two designs that people are using. Well, I went for this diamond shape and quite like the looks of it. Have not filled it in yet, but that can wait...just want to avoid excessive compaction of the sashing as I go along and quilt the blocks, otherwise it is going to be too difficult to put the straight lines into the sashing. Have still got a fair amount of sashing to go, but quilted something else in between, so need to get back to it.

Good fun!


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