Sunday, February 28, 2010

New sewing machine!

I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival this weekend and test drove a Baby Lock Quilter's Choice Professional. It's so fast! It only does straight stitch, but it has a huge space to the right of the needle and goes at 1500 SPM!

If you have any experience with this machine, please let me know! I'm very excited.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Row quilt

Well, tomorrow the next row on my row quilt is due. For those of you who don't know, it's a round robin but we're doing rows. So, one person starts the quilt, then passes it along to the next, who adds a row, who then passes it along to the next person who also adds a row, and so on. The original person gets the quilt back. We do ours as a surprise, so I can't show the whole thing in case the owner is reading this. But here's what my row looks like:
They're three dimensional flying geese. So, you could stick your finger under the legs of the triangles. They were really easy to sew. There's a video here at Ricky Tims' and Alex Anderson's The Quilt Show.

Remember how I said it was due tomorrow? I started it today. Yeah, I know.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Clothes patterns are a different breed

I'm making a dress for Molly. Its first life will be a shop sample. I decided to be thrifty and trace the pattern onto cheap interfacing (a trick of Monica's) so that I don't destroy the original pattern. It's KwikSew pattern 3767 and it's going to be super cute! I'm doing the one on the left, in better fabrics.Anyway, I traced the outlines in pencil, figuring I'm going to cut them out anyway. But I wanted to make the notches and other notations permanent. So I traced them with a Sharpie. I ended up putting wax paper underneath so the Sharpie wouldn't bleed. But look at my hand!
There must be a better way. Help, garment sewers! What should I do in the future?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Playing with Paintstiks

On the auction quilt, I've been wanting to include the school logo somehow. It's where I got the colors, after all. First I tried embroidering it.
It looks cute, but not bold enough. Then Ann at the shop suggested Shiva Paintstiks. Here is my first attempt. The colors aren't quite right (the light blue is too teal, for example), so I'm glad I did a practice run.
Here is the logo in the center white block of the quilt. I'm going to use my practice block and try outlining it with embroidery to sharpen up the fuzzy edges. But I am happy with the colors.I'll post photos of the embroidered sample when it's done, but I have to let the paint cure for three days first. I really don't want it to smear!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Quilt top mostly done

The auction quilt top is basically done. I took it in to the school today to show the kids. I am going to try embroidering the school logo in the center block. Well, actually, I'll probably embroider one on a plain bit of fabric first and hold it up to see how it looks. If it comes out, then I can use that on the back. Anyway, the kids all did the nine patch blocks. The other squares are just to frame them. It's way more traditional than last year's quilt, but I think it's pretty. It's being auctioned off along with a book of fairy tales and a bedtime story read by the teacher. I'm hoping for big bids!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Waste not

You know that technique for making flying geese where you sew a smaller square onto a rectangle on the diagonal and then cut off the waste? I save those little triangles. People think I'm crazy, but I do. And I use them as the last piece when I'm chain piecing. I even have some people who give me their cut off triangles! I take them happily.
This saves thread and time. No more having to hold onto those pesky threads when starting a seam! I have a large shoe box devoted to them. So far it's just held onto the sewn-together half square triangles, but yesterday I started pressing them.

I'll have to trim them, which will take even longer than pressing them did, but when all is said and done, I'll have a bazillion little squares, about 3/4 to 1 inch finished.

In weather news, we got a bunch of snow last weekend. This photo was taken the next day, after some had already melted. Yikes! Virginia is not prepared for this. And we have another storm coming tomorrow. They've already closed schools.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Opinions needed!

I'm working on this year's auction quilt. The kids have designed the blocks and I have them laid out on point. I want to put more small squares in the border but I'm not sure how to lay them out. I have gotten a few opinions but I want more! Keep in mind that this quilt will be auctioned off along with a storybook and a bedtime story by the teacher. It's meant to be a large throw for a child. It will be approximately 60 inches wide and will have some white on the outside before the binding, which will be blue/green. I am going to try embroidering the school logo in the center square (and maybe in more depending on how much time that takes).

So, which do you like and why? Please leave comments! The samples are all up on a design wall, and some of the squares are temporarily stuck up there. So ignore any crooked squares, please.

Asymmetrical border:

Symmetrical border:

Full border:
I'd like any and all feedback. Again, ignore the crookedness of the outside border, especially in the last photo. I was running late for my radiation appointment when I took it!