Thursday, March 24, 2016

In the sewing room

Seems like I'm getting to spend quite a bit of time in my sewing room lately.  And I'm not complaining.

A few days ago a friend in BC sent me a request for a bag to hold her clothes pegs.  The one she's had for ages fell apart.  A quick search on line came up with some very cute ideas.  Kids shorts or skirts, with the bottom stitched closed and hung on the line using hangers with clips.  Since I have no little ones I had to make a plain boring bag.

It's made from left over upholstery fabric.  I'm hoping she remembers to bring it in.  It's not likely to weather well.

The ruler work on my Janome is progressing well.  I can see quite an improvement.  I did come across an article that suggested using a zipper foot for ruler work.  The foot is higher than a regular foot and shouldn't slip under a ruler while sewing.  Something for those without a ruler foot to try using? 

In January I came across a lovely quilt on Pinterest.  I just had to try to recreate it.  I succeeded but it was way too small.  The solution is a few borders.  But what borders?  I came up with the "brilliant" idea of having the ladies on hearts2hands yahoo group choose a border a month.  I'd post possible fabrics that could be used.  They would select which fabric i would use.  Not a great idea.  It's a pain to upload photos of the fabric.  Asking everyone to log in to see the fabrics was unreasonable. 

My next idea was to randomly choose a border design every month from one of the books on the shelf.  Then reach in to my stash of fabric that is set aside for this quilt, and pull out as many fabrics needed. 

February's boarder was easy.  A plain strip of fabric all the way around. 

March was another story.  Pin wheel blocks all the way around.  That's a whole lot of 1 1/2" half square triangles (HST)!  I gave up half way through and decided on a bow tie block.  It uses half the number of HSTs.  And I had those made by the time I gave up on the pin wheels.  So the "Border of the Month" project is caught up for March.  Here's hoping the random page selection will be an easy border for April!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

New adventure - Ruler work on a domestic machine

Jackie on the hearts2hands group mentioned she was doing some ruler work on a quilt using her domestic machine.  That got me curious.  After watching a number of videos I bit the bullet and purchased a ruler foot that can be used on my Janome and Brother machines.  Westalee Designs make the ruler foot as well as numerous rulers.

There is no way I can explain the technique better than those at Westalee Designs.  So I won't try.  Watch their videos at your own risk if you are a quilter.  You'll want to give it a try.

Since I don't own an extension table for any of my machines I had to come up with some modifications.  A search on the Internet suggested using a Teflon oven liner.  Fabric would slide easily on it, and the liner would offer a stable platform for the rulers.  And an oven liner is a whole lot less expensive than an extension table!

Where to find one close to home?  DH isn't in to shopping on Sundays.  But I'm up for a walk.  The local grocery store didn't have one.  I checked the Giant Tiger close to home.  No luck.  I have to wait until tomorrow to get to a Canadian Tire or WalMart?  No way.  I want to play today.

Another search at Giant Tiger finds $4 collapsible boot boxes on sale for 50 cents.  They are made out of sturdy plastic.  Maybe that will work.  For $.50 I'll give it a try.
After cutting up the box to get a single sheet of heavy plastic here is what I get.
A bit small but wider than the rulers that came with the ruler foot.
Now to mark where to cut so the needle area is open.  And the bobbin case.  I don't want to have to move the plastic each time the bobbin needs to be changed.

Scotch tape will hold the plastic in place for this first test.  Next to get a practise quilt sandwich prepared.

 Of course I wouldn't start with anything easy.  After adjusting the height of the ruler I started trying to sew with curved lines.  It didn't go so well.
In fact it's pretty terrible.  Next up, straight lines.  Within minutes I could see an improvement.  I have a long way to go.  Stitches need to get consistent in length.  And I need to figure out how to guide the fabric and keep the ruler straight at the same time.  But it sure looks better than the curved stitching!  And this is in less than five minutes of practise.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) the bobbin ran out of thread and I took that as a sign to stop for the day.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Quilter's Prank Fail

My last post had photos of two tote bags I made for a friend.  There was one with no embroidery and one with a black and white Daisy Duck. 

There was a reason for the black and white Daisy. I offered to make the tote bags for my friend.  We went into my sewing room to check my stash of fabric.  We wanted to see if I had any fabric she would like.  The first comment that she made was "Think you have enough thread?!!!" with an eye roll at the spool rack.  Hmmm, does she think that the colour in the embroidery is put there by the sewing machine???  I jokingly threatened to make all future embroidery patterns that I did for her entirely using white thread.

Fast forward a day or two.  We are at Fabricland selecting the fabric she wanted me to make the totes with (I really didn't have the right fabric - and any excuse to fabric shop...).  A customer at the cutting table mentioned she better remember to buy thread.  My friend, not remembering my threat of all white embroidery, says "You should see how much thread SHE has".  That's on.

So I make a tote bag with no embroidery.  And she is happy with it.  Then I make two embroidered ones. 

I also made a patch with the black and white Daisy to sew over one of the embroidery designs.  I call my local quilt shop to ask if they have any water soluble thread in stock.  That would have been perfect for my prank.

I wouldn't tell my friend that the real embroidery was under the patch.  I would wait until she had used the tote and it was time to wash it.  The black and white embroidery patch would fall off and she would see the "real" design.  Unfortunately the shop did not have any water soluble thread.  So I ended up using a long basting stitch that would be easy to remove.

I gave her the last two bags last night and she loved the black and white Daisy!  Prank fail.  Although I do think she almost had a heart attack when I pulled out a seam ripper and went to work removing the patch.  Fortunately she likes the embroidery that was underneath. 

But now what to do with the black and white Daisy?  I should have known.  She wants it added to the plain tote bag.  So here I am at 6am sewing the patch onto the plain tote.  When will I learn?

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Sewing - a lot of sewing

The 365 Block of the day challenge has been keeping me in the sewing room.  Not because the blocks are a lot of work.  It's just that once I get in there, it's hard to leave.  One project leads to another.

Here's what was made in January and February along with what we have of the quilt centre so far:

The ladies on hearts2hands had a virtual retreat last weekend.  Some of us played with the "L" block.  I still have to quilt my top, but here's what I made.  Using just one fabric (I did pay for both sides!)

Volunteer sewing at Sew Divine is focused on fidget quilts for patients with dementia.  These are small lap quilts with buttons, zippers that keep hands busy.  I've made nine tops and still have to get seven backed and quilted.  At least I have the backing prepared!

I offered to make some reusable cloth bags for a friend.  She has the one without embroidery already.  Hopefully she enjoys the second one with her Daisy Duck.

It's time to focus on the quilting process.  I have this lovely 17" Bailey just sitting here, seldom being used.  Time to get some practice in and start working on all the tops that are piling up.  Who knows....I just may be happy with my quilting by the time all of the tops are done.