Posts Tagged free motion quilting

Scrappy Sewing Machine for August

It’s the 15th of the month (again) and time to show what I’ve been making with scraps.

Remember those hundreds of 1.5 inch squares I had to join together

to make a pixelated sewing machine wall hanging?

Well, I’d like to have said I’ve finished it but it’s not quite there yet.

It’s all joined together and actually looks like a sewing machine now rather than a multicoloured cow as Mr. Tialys offered by way of criticism at an earlier stage of construction.

The back view shows the task in more detail

I decided to quilt it by playing around with free motion quilting as it’s only going on the wall in my workroom, a place heavily guarded against inspections by the quilt police.

I found the perfect multicoloured thread to do it with.

As usual, my quilting is by no means perfect, in fact, on this occasion it’s only just acceptable and I’m not even going to make that claim for the back which is why I’m not showing you a photo of that as it will only be going against the wall in any case.

I think it will look fine from a distance.

I had the binding on up until yesterday when I realised, as I was hand stitching the back down, that my mitred corners were not coming together properly and the binding fabric had started to fray so I unpicked it all.

Still, at least that means I will have something to show you on the next Scraphappy Day which is organised by Kate & Gun for anybody who wants to make new things from scraps of any kind – doesn’t have to be fabric.  Here’s a list of participants – both regular and occasional – if you want to have a look at the sort of things you can do with scraps.

Contact Kate (first name on the list) if you want to join in.

Kate Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Nanette, Lynn(me), Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy, Debbierose, Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancy, Alys, Kerry, Claire, Jean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawn, Gwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline and Sue L.

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New Tricks

This is Taz, one of my three dogs.

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He is old(ish) – he’ll be 11 this year – but it’s not him learning new tricks, it’s me but I’m much older than 11 and not as good looking in close-up.

If you remember, I have been taking part in a patchwork block swap called F2F  (organised by Kate and Sue) which involved twelve women from around the globe, making three patchwork blocks a month and sending them to one of the recipients in turn so that all twelve of us end up with 36 blocks, having made 3 for ourselves to turn into a quilt. ( You can read about it here if you are interested.)  Well, I was leisurely putting my blocks together and joined up for the next swap which starts in June when my name got drawn out of the hat first so I will be the first person to receive blocks – probably in around 7 weeks time.  So, that’s put a fire under me and I’m  now desperately trying to get the first quilt finished before the new blocks arrive.  I have learnt a lot from doing this swap and have started trying new things and challenging myself a bit so that the blocks I send to the other participants are not boringly safe or complete pants.

This time, there are only nine of us but that’s O.K. because we can either make a slightly smaller quilt or make more blocks for ourselves.  I have persuaded my Wednesday sewing friend Sandra to join the swap this time which will be a challenge as English is not her first language, she doesn’t blog and is a bit scared of the computer.  We usually find a project to sew together on Wednesdays and, lately, I’ve been running out of ideas.  Here’s our latest project.

OwlTeacosies

Who wouldn’t want an owl as a tea cosy?  Cute aren’t they and will also be useful once I have stopped using mine as a mannequin head which is creeping out anyone who enters my sewing room.

Mannequin and Tea Cosy

The free pattern and tutorial is by Buzy Day here if you want to repel all visitors during sewing time as I try to do unless they are bearing a cup of tea.

Despite owl cuteness, I thought we might be better employed doing something more patchwork(y) now she’s got involved in the swap.  So, for a project last Wednesday afternoon I decided to try paper piecing and forced encouraged Sandra to join me.  Lordy!  What a revelation to the uninitiated.  Not having a light box, we were holding printed patterns and teensy bits of paper up against her windows and trying to join things up backwards and in reverse.  Lots of unpicking was done and I’m sure I saw her take a headache pill at the end of our session.  I continued at home and although I’m chuffed to bits with my first try at a paper pieced block it is not fit for eyes other than my own and so I will show you the half that is only a bit terrible and not the half that went completely to pot.

Half a Paper Pieced Block************************CENSORED*****************************

I think I might actually grow to like paper piecing so I made a light box out of an Ikea box frame and one of those little LED lights that you can stick up somewhere and press for ‘on’.  Basic, but it works and was free as I already had the two components lying around.

Homemade Light Box

I’ve also been trying out free motion quilting on my blocks as I’m ‘quilting as you go’ with this quilt – two new tricks for me in one there –  with varying degrees of success.  FMQ is a lone pursuit and requires you to concentrate like hell while apparently needing to be chilled out at the same time.  I think I’m relaxed then realise my shoulders are up around my ears with the tension.  One YouTube tutorial I watched was by a very sensible lady who suggested you might like to have a glass of wine by your side to help you relax.  A woman after my own heart but I’d be too scared to knock it over on to my fabric.  Maybe it would be better to have one before – and then maybe another one after.  I do need lots more practice but, to date, have been achieving some (very) free form designs which are just about acceptable although how anybody manages to do some of the more intricate FMQ designs I have no idea.  The whole bottle of wine by your side perhaps?

I am far too easily distracted – I blame it on being a Gemini – although I’m not really a believer in astrology it’s just that I can’t think of a better excuse.  For instance, once I had walked the dogs and fed the seemingly ever growing menagerie that lives in our house this morning, I had a whole day free and thought I’d get on with the quilting.  However!  I bought some fabric the other day I’m dying to turn into a sewing box and so I thought, ‘I’ll just get all the pieces cut out so they’ll be ready to put together in the future’ – a stage of the box making which is by no means quick – and ‘whoosh’ there went the rest of the morning.  Now, at lunchtime, instead of eating, I realised I hadn’t posted anything for ages so here I am telling you about what I should be doing instead of doing it.  Hey ho.  There’s always this afternoon.

Haberdashery Fabric by Makower

Fabric is Haberdashery Box by Makower

So, I’m learning FMQ, paper piecing and QAYG and, for my next trick I became a model for a day.

I am involved with a group that raises funds for our local dog and cat shelter and we decided to do something a little different.  We get lots of second hand clothes donated and, to be honest, they don’t look that inviting when hung up or laid out in piles like a jumble sale.  So, we decided that six of us would pick out something from the donations that suited us (or fitted us) and do a ‘fashion show’.  We hired a hall with a stage, some steps and somebody lent us a runner to use as a ‘catwalk’.  One of the organiser’s  partners is a D.J. so we could walk down the catwalk to music and we had a ‘presenter’ who read out descriptions of the outfits we had written ourselves – mostly in humorous fashion and we had clothes by designers such as ‘Terry Err from London’ , ‘Walter Spanielle from Yorkshire’  and ‘Beau de Collie from Paris’.  In other words, helped by a glass of champagne on arrival, everybody had a good laugh.  We modelled five outfits each and they were on sale afterward for 5 euros each.  All the remaining clothes were sold for whatever people chose to put in the donation box.

Fund Raising Amateur Fashion Show

We made a whopping 1400 euros for the Shelter which I can’t help but consider in terms of how many castrations that will pay for 😉

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‘A Little Top’ and Other Projects

I had a productive day yesterday -I must shut myself up in the workshop more often.  I have several projects on the go at the moment but they are all quite different so if I’m not in the mood for one, I can get on with the other.  Also, having spent a whole weekend clearing up and reorganising my workspace a few weeks ago, I am determined to keep it tidy and, after each session, I am putting everything back in its place like a good girl.

Here is my small sampler quilt that I started with my little sewing group – so little in fact, there are now only two of us! Was it something that I said? Who knows?  To be honest, if I said it in French I could have unwittingly upset any number of people.  Anyway, with all its imperfections such as missing points and wonky borders, this is just awaiting a bit more quilting and the binding.  I got fed up with hand quilting it, especially as I’ve backed it with cotton ticking and it’s a little on the thick side to quilt through.  I tried some free motion quilting which I have never really done on an actual project – just messed around on test quilt sandwiches – and I was getting on famously.  I was so proud of it for a first effort but, when I turned it over, the reverse side was a complete mess.  I think what I had on the reverse was what they call ‘birds’ nests’ in the trade and that is a very accurate description.  I can’t tell you how long it took me to undo it all.  Anyway, nothing daunted, I started again but my Singer, which is a little temperamental on the tension side, just wasn’t having any of it so I decided to switch to my Janome.  Unfortunately, the quilting foot I have wouldn’t fit the Janome so I ordered another one and had to wait until it arrived.  Now it’s here I’ve got to do a few more quilt sandwiches before I release myself onto the actual project.

Meanwhile, remembering the 2 year marathon that was the quilt for Mlle. Tialys the elder’s 18th birthday quilt, I decided to get started on Mlle. Tialys the younger’s one as I’ve only got 4 months until her 18th.  Hah!  This time I wanted to follow a pattern and do a plain back instead of wandering of down the design path conjured up by my brain with no idea how it was really going to end up.  Also, I’ve bought all the fabric in advance.  Very sensible.

I liked the look of this one with the pinwheels in the centres of the blocks and, as it comes from the Moda Bake Shop blog, it comes with ingredients and a recipe (as they call them) so what can go wrong?  I also like the fact that the designer hand quilted each pinwheel with cotton perle no. 8 with nice big stitches – hooray!  And, if I can get my free motion quilting  up to scratch by then, I’ll do some ‘off piste’ quilting on the rest of it. I chose the ‘Oh Deer’ by Momo for Moda as I love the animals and woodland theme together with spots and stripes and lots of bright colours.  I don’t normally do bright colours but I thought this quilt design could take it and it is also an attempt to bring the younger Mlle. Tialys into the light after her goth phase.

First pinwheel block finished – only another 24 to go.

On a different plane, I am trying to rekindle my ‘making clothes’ passion which flares up briefly now and again throughout my life.  I have been inspired by lots of different blogs like Ooobop! and by the lack of clothing in the shops that is not for the under 25s or over 70s – I talk of the rural backwater in which I live here in France – to take it up again.  The problem of course is that, being a rural backwater, there is nowhere to wear glam clothes – I have a wardrobe full of unworn ‘posh’ frocks and heels – I’ll just have to get up to Toulouse, our nearest big city,  more often just to dress up.

This ‘little top’, as my mother would call it, caught my eye in Burda Style’s August issue, especially as it says ‘Easy’ on the instructions.  I thought it would ease me gently back into the world of sewing clothes.  Of course, it is crèpe de chine and therefore very slippery and fine but I’m going to give it a go.  I bought this fabric which is soft, muted, blurry blues with a sort of painterly print on it.

I also saw this dress pattern recommended by lots of people and I bought this printed to jersey to make it in.  The  style of sleeves I make will depend on what time of year it is when  I get round to making it.

Got this length of vintage tweed fabric for a bargain price.  It has a slight stretch to it so I wonder whether the dress, with the sleeves, would look good in that for winter.  If not, it would make a nice pencil skirt.

Then I made another Bunny Bento Bag as I wanted to see whether I could get the tricky lining done any quicker.  The answer is, not really, but I really like that Liberty tana lawn against the natural linen.

What diverse projects have you got on the go?

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