Tuesday 28 February 2023

To Do Tuesday - 28/2/23

Back again after a week of all things 'wedding'. Exciting but also very exhausting week. I did not do any quilting however managed to get in some design work in the evenings. I wrote a separate post about this as it was slightly more involved (HERE)

I did do some practice though the other day as I could not work out my drawing. Interestingly, this time I could quilt it, but not draw it properly. Normally I would say...if you cannot draw it you also cannot quilt it. 

I learned the Amish feather in Bethanne Nemesh' online Feather Fiesta workshop
This is what I stitched about a year ago. Since then I have not practiced this at all. When trying to wrap my head around it while drawing, went back to my notes and tried to figure out the sizing, particularly around the centre of the circle. Somehow I did not get this together properly when drawing, so that is when I quilted it out quickly to see how I would quilt my feathers, i.e. the size of them, the angle and the size of that little circle in the middle, so that I could get a sense on how I would place some guidelines when quilting this freehand. 
Here are my practice samples:
Noticed straight away when quilting that my inner circle needed to be smaller for me to get around in a flowing type way. Looking at the samples though I was amazed at how strong my muscle memory is. The size and the way I quilted this is very much like that sample from a year ago, albeit a bit more sloppy when I tried it quickly the other day. However, this helped in terms of working out the sizing and how to place my guidelines in order to quilt this out consistently.

Next stop...I need to put my wholecloth drawing on some paper. This will take another few weeks.

Apart from that, got side tracked again. I think I want to make this quilt
It is one of the first quilts I have ever done. I gave it to my daughter and looking after the cats in her house at the moment I was looking at this, by now, very old quilt. Definitely used up! It uses 2in strips in dark and light tones and is an excellent scrap project, so I am putting this on my list.

My list for the week is the following:

- continue working on the wholecloth design, i.e. starting to get the design on paper (this, no doubt, will take several attempts)
- pin and baste one of the charity quilts ready for quilting
- prepare for the wholecloth workshop that is coming up in 2 weeks (where has the time gone!!)
- sort out some 2in strips into light and dark and start the blocks.

Let's see how we go.

Linking up to To Do Tuesday over at Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday Linky Party #9


Monday 27 February 2023

Putting a Quilt Design into Digital Format

Hello everybody...I have re-surfaced from the wedding week! My daughter got married last week and hence no quilting was done obviously. It's been busy but we did have a wonderful day. Everything came miraculously together, the weather was great, we had great food and everybody had a lot of fun. 
Currently looking after my daughter's cats as they have gone on a little honey moon.

While I did not quilt anything, I was not idle. In the evenings I finally spent some time fixing up my wholecloth design. This coincided with me getting a new app for the Ipad called Affinity Designer 2. If you followed my blog for a while you would know that I love to play around with designing in general. I just recently did my Mini Wholecloth design on the Ipad using 'Procreate'. 

It took me some time but I was able to work out how to get the drawing to scale so that I could print it off at the right size. This was no easy undertaking as I had to convert pixels to inches, set my grid behind it up in the proper way and be very precise in my drawing. I do like the program and feel quite comfortable with it and it has a lot of very useful features for quilters. I often do little drawings for some of my workshops on there.

The main difference between the two programs is that Procreate is not a vector program. Procreate is great for the Ipad if you want to do some basic drawing, sketching and painting. It is easy to learn and has a lot of features that I really like and find useful for designing.

However what I do miss is the ability to clean up my strokes, e.g. like in this little picture
I can draw a shape quite easily with the Apple pencil, select it, make it bigger or smaller and as I found out put this little drawing into inches. What is missing though is the adjustment nodes to clean up your strokes. While I can set my brush up to work as streamlined as possible, I do find it annoying when I do make a wobble in just the last part which means I have to do it again if I want to use it for a diagram in one of the workshops. It is possible, of course, to be super careful and deliberate but I find that a bit of a hassle. For wholecloth design there is no way I can draw all my feathers the same in terms of angle and width/length etc. While that is ok for a smaller piece like the Mini Wholecloth I did above, this would be impossible to achieve on a bigger scale consistently. For the Mini Wholecloth above, I drew sections of the design on paper, then took a photo of it and imported it into the Procreate program. Then, very carefully, I traced the drawing. This was quite work intensive and at times frustrating (particularly after several cups of coffee), however worked out well in the end for this little piece. I traced 1 heart, 1 frame and 1 feather spray, so not too much at all. Once I had all that in the program I basically used copy and paste to make up the design. What though if I wanted to do a bigger design? I certainly could not imagine tracing an entire feather border...

So, I bought the Affinity Designer 2 App for the Ipad. This is a vector based program, very much like the the way Adobe Illustrator works. So, now I have some nodes that can be adjusted
If I wobble or do not end up exactly where I want to be I can adjust the shape after I have drawn it. I used to use Ipad Graphics, an older program in the past for this but with the new updates this has stopped to work properly. So, I set out to test out the ease of the new App. Don't know about you but I am not one for reading manuals for hours...to me a program has to be intuitive and easy to learn. Affinity is definitely more complex than Procreate...there are things in there I do not even understand the English words that they are using. For a couple of days, I could not find the eraser, so in the end I did need to look at the manual. Their layer system also is somewhat way more complex and I struggled a bit with that. Still need to find something where you can name your layers as I had problems finding where I was at at times. If I could label the layers that might make that easier. Mind you, my test project was a wholecloth that I had drawn some years ago which needed sorting out in terms of size and also changes in design choices,
The settings were easy to change to inches and I was able to put a half inch grid behind it, so I could orient myself in terms of size when drawing individual shapes. I might have aimed a bit high as the wholecloth design came out to 36in. 
I went frame by frame, deciding on the space available, changed it a couple of times, added bitses I might use and worked out the middle section (minor alterations may need to be done...this is by no means finished). Found that the ability to work in inches and seeing what this looked like in terms of spacing extremely helpful. My feather arrangement in the centre was relatively easy to execute. I did one drawing, cleaned it up via the nodes until I was happy with it and then copied and pasted it around the centre motif. That worked really well. Then decided on the Amish feathers...now that became a bit of a nightmare. Made several mistakes in there in terms of how to quilt them...it's been over a year since I practiced this, however, my spacing is spot on, sort of. I should have lowered this a bit towards the frame in the middle, but lost the plot a bit in terms of sizing altogether at that stage. Funny enough with these Amish feathers, I can quilt them better than I can draw them.
The next day I practised sewing those feathers and realised that I need to follow how I normally quilt my feathers in terms of size and shape, so there would have to be an adjustment made on this image. This outer border was not easy. I drew two circles of feathers freehand, cleaned it up, then copied this to make a row. The corners were a bit of a hit and miss as they were slightly different. So, my copying and pasting created a lot of inaccuracies, however after a days of drawing, I just wanted to see what that looked like. If I wanted to produce a copy I could print from, I would have had to be more careful with every single circle using a combination of freehand drawing and copying to make this into a printable copy. However, patience had left me by then and I struggled to find the layers of individual shapes. The whole thing had just gotten too big.

All in all though, not a bad effort...it did clarify the dimensions perfectly for me, just need to do a few adjustments and get my head around the Amish feathers a bit more and we are ready to draw this out.

Incidentally today, I came across another feature...the slice
Only exported an exact quarter of the picture. If my Amish feathers were better, this would be perfect for printing. I might actually be able use the inner feathers and frames though as they were spot on. So, in summary, Procreate is great to get a draft of your design, try out different design ideas and as I found out you definitely can do some smaller, less involved drawings with some accuracy. However Affinity 2 is the program I would use if I wanted to create a precise wholecloth drawing that I could use to trace directly onto the fabric. 

Great exercise and lots to learn.


Thursday 16 February 2023

To do Tuesday - 14/2/23

A little bit late but things have been a bit hectic around here.

My goals for this week were
- deliver the charity quilts to the quilting group and pick up some new quilts✅
- finish off the ditching of the new pattern
- start to write up the pattern, probably concentrating on the diagrams in the first place as this takes the longest
-make a bit of a plan what I want to achieve for myself over the next 6 months...I have got about five quilt tops ready to quilt and a wholecloth design. I feel I need to make some decisions around what to do next as I get frequently side tracked with other stuff and my quilt tops usually stay behind. That wholecloth design (which is almost ready), for example, has been on my to-do-list for at least a year and a half and absolutely nothing has happened. 

Well, not too bad considering that we are also preparing for a wedding next week which has necessitated several trips to the city.

My new pattern is up and running. Very happy with that as the write up was a bit more involved than usual. You would not really think so as the quilt looks very simple, but as this is a custom layout I included a lot of little diagrams on how to piece this together. I do go by what I find easiest and I must admit, if I look at a pattern, I usually go by the pictures rather than any text.

Well, here it is - the Starbright Baby Quilt

The quilt is 34-1/2in x 44-1/2in. I only used minimal quilting as I liked the clean, crisp look of it.

With that done, I am now going to concentrate on my wholecloth design for a few weeks I think. I will not put any goals down for next week as it will be just too busy.

Linking up to Quilt Schmilt for the To Do Tuesday Linky Party...see you again in two weeks!


Wednesday 8 February 2023

To Do Tuesday - 7/2/23

My tasks for this last week were:

- pin and baste the new pattern quilt top and hopefully start at least the ditching of it.
- quilt the charity quilt with the e2e design, attach the binding and the label ready to be delivered next week.
- not hopeful, however let's put it on the list...start with the write up of the new pattern, if possible.

Finished two things which is not too bad

Did a post earlier in the week about the last little charity quilt and how I went about quilting this (HERE) if you are interested in reading about this.
The quilt turned out fabulous
Absolutely fell in love with this...it is probably the first time I really felt that I would like to keep that quilt (which of course, I did not). Not sure what it was about this one. It is really very simple but the colours and the fabric...just really lovely. So I spent a bit longer on this one doing an edge -to-edge design over it which was the perfect choice. The design is Cloud Nine by Patricia E. Ritter available through Urban Elementz.

Then I started putting my new pattern together. Of course, it did not go as quickly as I had planned but managed to finish the quilt top, pinning and basting and currently doing the stitching-in-the-ditch. Looking very bold, just as I like it for little baby quilts
Have about half of it left to go and am undecided about further quilting. I quite like the bright uncluttered look, but I will think more on it as I am doing the ditching.

For this week I intend to
- deliver the charity quilts to the quilting group and pick up some new quilts
- finish off the ditching of the new pattern
- start to write up the pattern, probably concentrating on the diagrams in the first place as this takes the longest
-make a bit of a plan what I want to achieve for myself over the next 6 months...I have got about five quilt tops ready to quilt and a wholecloth design. I feel I need to make some decisions around what to do next as I get frequently side tracked with other stuff and my quilt tops usually stay behind. That wholecloth design (which is almost ready), for example, has been on my to-do-list for at least a year and a half and absolutely nothing has happened. 

For now, I am linking up to To-Do-Tuesday over at Quilt Schmilt for Linky Party #6


Saturday 4 February 2023

Edge-to-Edge Design on a Sitdown Longarm

I finished my little charity quilt. Normally I would not do anything too involved on theses charity quilts...not because they are for charity but simply because I am volunteering my time and resources to quilt them. However I absolutely fell in love with the last charity quilt. Not sure what it is about this one, but I really like the very simple design and the colours of that quilt. The fabric reminds me of something but I cannot quite place it.

Such a pretty quilt and nicely straight. So I decided to do an edge to edge design over it. If you never looked into this check out the designs at Urban Elementz...so many choices and I am not sure whether I mentioned this before but there is also a whole section of some 50 plus designs that you can use for free. Really appreciate this.

For this design though I chose a panto that I had bought from Urban Elementz - the self print Cloud Nine Design from Patricia E. Ritter. I think that is the third design that I purchased from Patricia E. Ritter. Coincidence or maybe her design appeal to me because of their openness (for my purpose I do need the design to be a bit more open). 

I have mentioned in previous blog posts (e.g. HERE and HERE) how exactly I go about doing this on a sitdown longarm machine. I use Golden Threads paper to trace rows of the design. this time though I wanted this to go all a bit quicker and I used 8 sheets of Golden Threads paper and stitched the traced design through that rather than tracing off the design 8 times.
As you can see I trace with a blue erasable marker. This is because when you rip out the paper there are always little specks left in the stitching and I just want to be careful not to transfer any markings onto the quilt.
A brief look at what this looks like stitched through

I remove the paper as I go along, except for the last bit which I need for the alignment of the next row
I have done this design before so it went rather quickly. However, this time I did a bit of a stuff up in row 3...it was getting close to dinner time and I was hurrying along placing a row onto the quilt ready to go  for the next day. When I started it again the next day, my natural perfectionism was a life saver. I made a very sloppy petal about 2 swirls in and decided to take it out...only to realise when turning to the back that I had aligned my row on the previous already stitched one, so I had 2 swirls stitched twice! I was happy that I discovered it and proceeded to take my stitching out which is something you can absolutely do with the paper, however you have to be super careful. The paper is wafer thin and rips easily. Complicating whas the fact that I had stitched my design through the 8 layers with a very large needle which made the paper even more likely to just split. After I removed all the stiches, put my frazzled paper in place
You can see here how the paper is starting to split. I decided to ignore that bit and stitched as best as I can around those split papers. Worked fine as I was used to the movement of the design by that stage, but did make me somehow anxious, as it is very hard to see how it is turning out with all the paper on top.
In general I follow the lines as best as I can however this particular design is stitched with a little bit of speed...I can imagine that on a longarm on the frame you would really lean into that which also happens to a lesser extent on the sitdown, so lines are not always followed precisely. I have learned not to worry about that too much, however I do make sure that I hit the points correctly as when I align the next row, I can be assured that they are in the right place. In addition I check how my row aligns against the pieced seam lines...not measuring, however  having a bit of a look whether I am still straight and whether design elements hit the same spot as I go along. Works absolutely perfectly every single time.

The quilt looks just lovely

...and the back
Now I can say with some confidence that none of the swirls would be exactly the same, however it reads as consistent and looks absolutely spectacular. So happy with how this turned out.

Altogether I used 9 rows to quilt this. Had to trace one more design to finish off and must say I do prefer to stitch on the drawn line rather than those little dot lines, however it was much quicker of course, using the stitched through rows.

So satisfying. 


Wednesday 1 February 2023

To Do Tuesday - 31/1/23

Another week has gone by. Nothing too exciting from me, however feeling a bit productive this week and have got a few things done. My tasks from last week were:

- to start working on a new pattern, i.e. get off the computer and do some sewing!✅
- to pin and baste another of those charity quilts and maybe even get it quilted. - partially done

Also finished my handout for the upcoming wholeclass workshop which was not on the list. ✅✅

The week was spent finishing the cute little giraffe charity quilt, i.e. attaching the binding and the label

So very cute!

Then I basted another charity quilt...also very nice. Feel quite lucky to get all these pretty quilt tops to quilt from the Orange Tree quilters group.
Really like the fabric and colours of this quilt. It is very well pieced and very straight and against better judgement I decided to do an allover pantograph design on it. Do not do this usually for the charity quilts as it takes me a bit longer being on a sitdown longarm, however this little quilt is just asking for it. Sometimes you just have to go with your first thought and I do feel in the mood to spent some quality time on it.
However, to make it somewhat quicker this time, I only traced out the first design and then stitched patiently through 8 sheets of Golden Threads paper to use for this quilt.
The design is Cloud Nine-Petite from Patricia E. Ritter which is available through Urban Elementz. Was not sure whether this would work, but used a 100/16 needle and went without a hitch. Will start quilting this in the next few days and am looking forward to this. Find this incredibly relaxing. Have done this design before, but felt it was the most perfect fit for this little quilt in terms of size and theme.

Also started (and finished the quilt top) on a new pattern...again, really bold and bright colours.
Will pin and baste this quilt at the end of the week hopefully. Easy design, semi-easy to do and comes together relatively quickly. The only thing I struggled with was my 1/4in seam. Had used my Accuquilt cutter to cut out the pieces and found that the cutter is just so correct which made me loose a few millimeter here and there when piecing it together. When I cut the fabric out myself this does not usually happen as the pieces are obviously cut slightly larger.

The last few days I have spent writing out a handout for my upcoming Mini Wholecloth workshop in March. Dreaded that task a bit as it involved a lot of drawings, however, it is done and I am happy with it. Had to really think about this as it has been a while since I stitched those Mini Wholecloth quilts out.

For the coming week my tasks are:
- pin and baste the new pattern quilt top and hopefully start at least the ditching of it.
- quilt the charity quilt with the e2e design, attach the binding and the label ready to be delivered next week.
- not hopeful, however let's put it on the list...start with the write up of the new pattern, if possible.

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