Monday, January 26, 2009

And the quilting is done!

It's been a while since I posted, I know. I got kind of burned out for a little bit on the auction project. I have quilted all the buildings I intend to quilt. I was originally going to do them all, but a couple of things happened. One is that I burned out. The other is that I realized that I forgot I was intending to do some hand embroidery on some of the buildings. So, the buildings without quilting will get hand embroidery. Voila! Burnout solved.

A few days ago I met with a teacher from the shop who taught a beading on fabric class I took several months ago. Needless to say, her brain is quite picked over. She gave me some great ideas. I have also gotten all the beading done in the water portion of the quilt. That's this photo. I had to adjust the colors because my little camera didn't know what to do with all that black, but you get the idea. The yarn isn't quite so primary-looking in real life. The beads are kind of black yet also iridescent in many colors. It's really a good effect in real life.

I probably won't post again for a few days because I have a funeral in Michigan to attend. While the funeral will be sad, this will be Molly's first real experience (as a non-infant) in snow, so we'll probably have a good time overall. Plus I get to see my sisters! I hope to get a lot of beading done while there.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Auction Quilt, Interrupted

I had to take a quick break and sew a shop sample for an upcoming class I'll be teaching. I needed to have it done by tomorrow, so of course I just started it this past Monday and finished today. The bad news is that my machine problems seem to be more extensive than I thought. I think I may have bent my shank (I believe this is the right term -- the part that comes down and has the presser foot attachment). A couple weeks ago I discovered that the main free motion foot I had was bent. I wasn't sure how it happened, but I more or less bent it back into shape and have been using it fairly successfully (except, of course, the quilt-eating incident my machine had a week or so ago). Well, this class sample was the first thing I've done where I needed a quarter inch seam and I discovered, after sewing the whole main part together, that the quilt was quite short. After doing some measuring, I found that my squares that were supposed to finish at 1 1/2 inches were actually finishing at 1 3/8 inches. Oops. So now I wonder if, while I was transporting my machine in the car, maybe something pushed against the shank. Or the machine tipped and the shank ended up against something. I don't have a rigid (or any) case for moving the machine in.

So, anyway, don't look too closely at this quilt because it's far from perfect (though the waviness in the middle is just because I didn't lay it out perfectly for the photo). The bright side of this is that I can use my recent experiences as teaching points for my upcoming beginning quiltmaking class. Lemons and lemonade, blah blah blah.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Well, the auction quilt is bound and has a hanging sleeve. I couched more yarn around next to the binding and used fusible web to attach the binding to the back before I sewed it. This means no hand sewing. Yay! I stopped in the shop Friday night and Mary gave me the suggestion. It worked really well. It doesn't look as nice as it would if it were hand done, because my stitching isn't right next to the finished edge. But it's more than adequate for a wall hanging.

However, I'm far from done. I plan to quilt in the buildings, and add embroidery and beading. I can't decide if I should quilt in all the buildings, even those I plan to add other embellishments to, or just in some.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Water quilted! And comments should work now.

Last time I wrote I was having machine problems. Well, I never actually did anything, but I have been able to continue quilting. I just had to slow down a bit. I am not convinced there's not a problem, though. I tend to quilt fast -- I have a harder time making smooth lines when I go slowly.

Anyway, I have finished quilting the sky and also the water. I quilted in different colors so it would look like the buildings are reflecting. I think it came out well. I will quilt some of the buildings this weekend and get a start on the beading and embroidery. If anyone has skills in those two areas and wants to help, let me know!

Here is a photo of the backing fabric. The wildness helps hide all the threads. Also, I fixed the setting where it was only letting Blogger people make comments. Sorry about that! I'm still getting into this and haven't explored everything yet.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Older projects

Here are some other projects that I meant to show earlier but didn't get a chance to. Sorry about the weird layout issues here.

A tote bag for Molly's teacher:

Placemats for my nephew's wedding:

And a tree skirt that was a class and store sample. Molly used it in her room this Christmas:

Monday, January 5, 2009

All couching done, sky mostly quilted, but machine problems.

Finally all the couching is done! Like I said, I bought a foot, which really helped. But it was still hard. And the foot is very close to the throat plate — I could barely fit the three layers under it, even with loosening the presser foot pressure.

Regardless, that's mostly done, except for a few touch-ups and parallel couching lines. The good news is that most of the sky is quilted! I was able to do it all in a couple of hours tonight. The bad news is that something seems to be wrong with my sewing machine. I have cleaned it out and changed the needle (and of course only use high quality materials). The problem is that it's getting jammed, and when I say jammed, I mean the quilt is getting pushed into the throat plate area. And when I finally wrench it free, some of the top thread has managed to wind itself around the bobbin. It's very weird. It did it once and I tried changing the needle and it has happened twice again. This is why the sky is mostly done and not all done.

Anyone have any ideas? I will take it in, of course, if necessary, but this is not the time for me to be without a machine. I don't have tons of machine work left, though, which is good.

Anyway, my idea is to put crystals or beads in the middle of the swirly bits.

This is a little blurry, but you get the idea. Again, very linty!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


The auction quilt is really coming along. I'm using a technique in the book Dream Landscapes by Rose Hughes. I had to change a couple things because of the size and layout of my quilt, but overall, it's her technique. I got the whole city pieced yesterday and today. I've also found that 505 Spray and Fix is my new best friend! I was worried about some of the seams because you have to trim so close to the thread (thanks for the scissors, Michele). So, I didn't want to have to use safety pins because I thought that doing the pinning might pull some of the seams. 505 has worked wonderfully, and I've had to do a lot of maneuvering of the quilt top because of the corners, and it's been holding together just fine

I have most of the couching done. It's been harder than I thought. I am using a fairly thick yarn and bought myself a braiding foot (which is essentially a couching foot). These things have helped, but I still veer off the seam line sometimes. So, I have been couching a second yarn alongside my missteps. Strangely enough, couching a second yarn is easier than the first, even though you have to go right next to the original yarn. Anyway, I have eight buildings left, plus the horizon line left to couch. Then on to quilting (that will be a relief) and then embellishing.

Here is a closeup of the couching. You can see that the bottom building hasn't been done yet. Please ignore the copious amounts of lint. I think it's from the 505 spray on the batting. Regardless, I'll be using one or more lint rollers on this one before it's displayed!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Progress on the auction quilt

Okay, I haven't been around much. Between being sick, getting ready for the holidays, and the inlaws coming to town, we've just been very busy! That also means I haven't gotten a lot done anyway. :-)

But last night I did get some work done on the auction quilt. This one has been worrying me because I'm doing a new technique, and sometimes before starting something new I get a bit of "stage fright." But last night the deadline (about four weeks away, if you don't count the binding), seemed very close. So with a little encouragement and help from RT, we jumped right in.

Anyway, the scissors are to show you the size. This will be the full size of the quilt. Each building is made from one of the kids' fabrics. I decided to make the buildings funky instead of straight so it would be a little more fun.

I did find out you can get a large format copy from Kinko's for not too much money!

Oh, I have one Christmas gift to show you (I have photos of others, too, for later). This is a silk scarf I painted with Dye-Na-Flow for RT's mom.