Thursday, February 27, 2014

Quilting the borders

I spent a few hours in the studio last evening working on the Nordika quilt (Min Skatt).  The borders are coming along nicely!  I was apprehensive about the light gray thread on the black outer  border.  It is very showy and any missteps would clearly stand out.  I got through it though without any major bobbles :).  The challenge will be quilting that design sideways as the quilt is rolled.  I probably will turn the quilt to do the bottom (maybe the sides too - does anyone do that?).  Now to figure out what to do in the hexies - any ideas?

My best friend and husband also helped me tune up the featherweight a bit.  It was failing to start reliably with the foot pedal.  We checked the connection of the foot pedal and made sure the belt was tight enough.  Still the machine would not start up more than 50% of the time when depressing the pedal unless I urged it along by turning the hand wheel.  Once I touched the hand wheel, the machine works beautifully however it is a pain to have to turn the wheel to get it to start.  Hubby said he thought the brushes were bad (although the dealer assured me they had been cleaned before I picked it up).  We took off the screw to pull out the top brush and checked the armature.  Both looked pretty dirty.  After cleaning off the brush and replacing it (we did this a few times), and running the machine (in hopes of cleaning off the armature a bit) it is now running much better!  If this does not fix the problem, the motor may need to come apart to really clean the armature.

Another snowy cold day in western NY - I keep telling myself that summer is just around the corner!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ella's Quilt

This has been a super secret project for my good friend and co-worker who is expecting her third child in less than three weeks.   I mailed it out last week and she received the package yesterday so now I can spill the beans!  I think the quilt came out super cute!  I did some straight line quilting on the Innova to keep it simple.  The colors are match the decor in the nursery which is gray and yellow mostly.  I just had to throw in some pink 'cause it's a girl!

Best wishes to the mama-to-be, hubby, lil man and mini-me on the new addition to their sweet family! :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

New cozy tote for my Featherweight

I was fortunate enough to get a case with my Featherweight that is in excellent shape.  It shows minimal wear on the exterior and the leather handle  is also in good shape.  I want to keep it that way  so I needed a way to protect the case and carry the machine without using the handle.    I had a delicious fat quarter bundle that was just begging for a project and I think the colors complement the machine beautifully!

I started with the handles.  Don't ask why because I do not know!  I cut strips approximately 6"  by 18" and then folded in half and then in half again.  There is a skinny piece of Peltex (~1.5" wide) inside each handle.  I top stitched close to each edge and then also down the middle a few times.  The ends were tucked in  since I was pretty certain I would be attaching the handles to the outside of the bag and I wanted them to look pretty.

I cut  five inch squares from the fat quarters  and also added a few fabrics from my stash.  Then the squares were randomly pieced into a large rectangle approximately 22" wide by 40" long.  I quilted three layers, a stiff canvas, quilt batting and the  pieced top with straight lines using my walking foot and  my new Juki (have I mentioned yet how much I LOVE the Juki?!) .

I sewed up the sides and boxed the bottom by sewing across the corners using the side measurement of the machine case.  Voila!  A custom fit!
I knew I wanted the lining to start down from the top edge of the bag and so I made it smaller (shorter) than the bag so that I could fold over the top edge of the bag by a couple inches.    The Juki cruised through the top stitching even at the sides seams which which are a little bulky - no problem!

The handles went on last and the bag feels super sturdy due to the canvas reinforcement.  I carried the machine down to the house from my studio last night and the tote works perfectly!  I can even turn it upside down and slip it over the machine as a cover (tucking the handles inside). 

A great little weekend project!  Next I need to make a protective sleeve for the fold-up machine bed - in matching fabric of course!

Bee blocks for February

Finished up all my bee blocks for the month (early!)  First up was a triple star block for the Modern Insta Bee I just joined over on Instagram.  This block took an incredibly long time to complete but is so worth it.   I ran out of the light gray for the final round...I hope the recipient does not mind.

Next up..blocks for the Sunday Morning Quilts bee round three.  One large High Five and two Sunday Morning blocks.  This bee has been a lot of fun for me and when I joined (I am an original all the way through rounds 1 and 2) it was my first bee!

Last but not least are the star flower blocks for the do. good stitches Hope circle.  These were made using a tutorial from the Ellison Lane blog.

Friday, February 21, 2014

My new Juki

Two new sewing machines in one week!  I am a lucky girl!  I have been thinking of adding one more machine in my sewing studio.  I have a Bernina 350 PE which I love and use as my main machine.  It has wonderful stitch quality.  I also have two Janome machines; a small  Sew Precise which was my daughter's first sewing machine that we purchased when she was about 8 years old and a Memorycraft 9000 embroidery machine, neither of which are machines I like to use everyday for various reasons.  The Sew Precise is a good little machine, useful for teaching or sewing group, and the embroidery machine I like to keep set up for embroidery only.   Last but not least, I also have an Innova longarm (22"  on a 12' frame).

While I love my Bernina I was looking for a machine that could handle the free motion quilting just a little better.  Some projects are just too small to load on the longarm and a bit too big to do comfortably on the Bernina.

Enter the Juki TL2010Q!  After hearing this machine mentioned so many times in blogland I had to check it out.  The nearest dealer is about two hours away so last weekend my husband and I trekked off to take a look.   The woman who showed the Juki to us was only somewhat knowledgable about the machine.  At the store it was set up for FMQ.  I took a spin and I liked what I saw (recognizing that I need a lot of practice to improve).  She changed over to the walking foot and stitched a bit.  She then wanted to show how the machine could handle several layers of heavy denim.  Almost immediately the needle broke.  The sales person said it was because she had the walking foot installed and should not use the walking foot for that kind of sewing (I agreed, so why did she try?).  She place the compensating foot  on the machine and inserted a new needle.  She let me take over the controls and I stitched several lines noting the stitch quality was TERRIBLE!  No way was I taking this machine home (and my husband concurred)!    Since this is a very simple straight stitch only machine there are not too many buttons or knobs on it but the saleperson failed to recognize that the presser foot pressure was too light and that is what was causing the problem.    Since I knew people just raved about what a great machine it is that there must be an adjustment needed to improve the stitches and I was right!

The only concern I had at that point was that the salesperson told me the compensating foot was the "regular" foot that came with the machine along with two FMQ feet and a zipper foot.  I did not think I would like using the compensating foor for everyday piecing (it seems to me it for use on heavy fabrics?)...anyway I figured I would just buy separately a foot suitable for piecing.  The good news is that when I picked up the machine and unpacked it, there was a piecing foot included!

So far I have only had a chance to learn how to wind a bobbin, thread the machine and do some simple straight stitching.  The machine is meeting my expectations.  It is fast and  relatively quiet.  I will have to get used to the thread cutter on the foot pedal.  It seems somewhat awkwardly placed since I usually drive the pedal with my heel on the floor with my Bernina and in this position on the Juki I am often cutting the thread by mistake! 

Many folks expressed disappointment with the needle threader (basically the only complaint I saw in the reviews I read) and I will agree on this point but that is my only concern and it is a minor one.

This weekend I will set it up for FMQ and see what I can do!  Can't wait :)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A new oldie

I am so excited to share the news about my new(old) Singer Featherweight 221!  I have been coveting one of these babies for a long time and finally I have a  Featherweight I can call my own.  I first saw one of these machines at a quilt show in PA a while back.  A woman running one of the vendor booths was sewing away.  I thought it was one of the coolest things I have ever seen!  She gave some advice on how to find one and I walked away determined to have one.  Around Christmas time, I found one advertised on Craig's list.  I thought for sure it would be 'the one' and I would have a terrific little Christmas present to me.  Alas, it was not to to be.  After driving an hour to meet the seller, he/she was a no-show and the listing was deleted ( I am sure it was sold to someone else).  I was very disappointed.   I cruised around e-bay a bit but I am hesitant to buy something of this nature sight unseen.  The Featherweight idea went on the back burner.

More recently I have been interested in adding one more machine to my flock and decided to take a look at the Juki TL2010Q.  (More about that in another post.)  Unbeknownst to me, the dealer for the Juki also is  a collector of Featherweights!  (I know what you are thinking - Karma - right?)  Long story short, she agreed to sell me one of her babies!  I could not be more pleased!  The machine is in very nice condition as is the case.  She included many of the original accessories ( I think only the screwdriver is missing)  and an original owner's manual.  I  may have paid a little bit more than if I found it at a garage sale but I have the piece of mind to know it has been restored to excellent working order and if I have any problems or need service, I now have a connection!

So here it is....1948 Singer 221 Featherweight!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Small Finishes, Big Fun

Since I have so many WIPs that are going to be large quilts, when I need a break from my projects I like to make smaller items.  I especially enjoy projects I can finish in one or two sessions.

Some examples are pillows; always fun!  A pillow can be a mini quilt. Pieced, quilted and bound.  I had fun doing a loopy FMQ in a spiral on the zig zag pillow.  I used Amanda Jean's method of strip piecing to make the chevrons instead of using HSTs.  The back has a very kicky banana yellow zipper (covered) and is all the darker blue color. This pillow is 18".

And another couple photos of the Valentine's pillow. I know, I already posted about it, but I was having a pillow photo shoot! 

Another small project I've been having a lot of fun with lately are these clutches designed by Jennifer Ladd for Sew Mama Sew.  This one is made with my own hand dyed fabric. So sweet!  I have made two of these now and still do not have one for myself!  I'm next on the list though.  I am going to skip the flower on mine, I think. 

That's all for today, friends. Linking with Kelly for NTT (:


Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sunday Stashin'

My LQS  had a Superbowl blowout sale this weekend with 25% off everything   in the store  (I know...right)!  My  DH and I happened to drive  by and noticed all the cars there.    I quickly checked their web page on my smartphone and discovered there was a sale.   Hubby turned the car around and actually went in the store with me to help pick out two backings,  The first is a beautiful  Art Gallery fabric in a gorgeous light aqua which will be the backing for Min Skatt (see prior post).  The top is tending towards dark with the black borders  so the light backing will be perfect!  The second is a black flannel with an animal track print.  This will be the back of  my January do. Good Stitches quilt.  The fabrics in the second picture caught my eye  and will enter my stash with no plan in mind.

Happy Sunday!

Min Skatt (my treasure)

I finished up a new quilt top this week.   This started with a fat quarter bundle of Jenni Baker's Nordica.   I wanted to showcase the prints and the over sized hexies let me do just that.   I made a carboard template  to cut the hexi halves.  By no means an original idea but  I do think it is a  rather interesting spin on the traditional hexagon quilt block.  I used some gray and pink (really more of a salmon) from my stash along with another half yard of  one of the Nordica prints for the borders.  It has been a long time since I made a quilt  with borders and  it seems as though I spent as much time on them as I did piecing the  hexagon center!  The top finished at 80.5"  x 89.5".

Sunday Stashin' #4

Hey all-

I decided to do another installment of Sunday Stashin' as I have some new fabric to show off.  I bought a few things recently at JoAnn's and got an order of solids from FabricWorm.

On the left is a pull for some small project. Love the tan with the white flowers and bees.  The fat quarters coordinate nicely.  The white/print in the middle is cloud9 organic.  It has little grey kitties frolicking in a meadow of flowers. I LOVE it.  The rest are some gorgeous solids!  Across: Kona silver, storm, celestial, water, pool, cactus, crocus, azalea, and pomegranate.  The purple and pink at the top are larger cuts of JoAnn's "kona" solids.  Useful for making the backs of throw pillow, etc.  I believe they are orchid and pomegranate.

Solids, I loves them.

And here's something I'm working on for a throw pillow.  This is Amanda Jean Nyberg's method for making zig-zags with out making HSTs.  It's done with WOF strips cut in to units and sewn back together.  It's pretty cool.  I've been wanting to do something with dark blue and chartreuse for a long time.  This is kona storm and cactus.  The combination is not exactly what I was looking for but it's a pillow for someone else so I'm letting it go (:

Linking with Molli today at:
Molli Sparkles