What do Quilters do when they are not quilting?

So what does a quilter do when she’s not quilting???
Lots of other sewing projects !!!
Today I’m linking up with Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday for my recent finishes.


At the beginning of the summer I had an informal “to do” list for things that just needed doing around my home. Well, as we all know,  life is unpredictable. My list went down the ole crapper – which is okay-nothing like a few wake-up calls to remind you what is important……
Then life begins to return to “normal” (not sure if my life could ever really be described as that 😉 ). I began to look around and things that weren’t important a few short months ago, started to bug me again.

By late August / early September I began attacking things that were on my list. While I have quite a few things that will have to wait until after the holidays , my TGIFF is a hodgepodge of finishes from painting to yardwork to various sewing projects. I will spare you all the gory details and highlight a few sewing improvements that have been nagging at me.picture of box cushion on wicker couch

 

  • A new box cushion for my little outdoor wicker sofa.  Here in Florida we are just heading into our prime outdoor season ( the cute bird pillow was from the clearance bin at Lowes) . But I learned a lot about outdoor fabric. I made another cushion out of Sunbrella fabric in the past, but it didn’t hold up. Turns out that Sunbrella fabric comes in different outdoor ratings- according to how much direct sun the fabric will take (and don’t forget the UV upholster thread) . This time I ordered marine/ awning quality Sunbrella fabric. Not the easiest to make welting out of, but I’m hoping it will last a bit longer.
picture of a long over due sewing project - my 2 dogs Bella and Evie resting on their new beds
Bella and Evie
  • My beloved doggies were in need of new dog bed covers. I was going to photo before and after photos, but I was afraid you would think my whole house looked like their poor old beds 🙂 lol . Seeing them sleeping on their beds just makes me smile.
finished silk lampshade sewing project
Finished silk lampshade…Why would I ??? Because I can I guess!
  • I needed a new lampshade for this cute little lamp that I bought in an antique store years ago. I looked everywhere for the right size replacement shade. One evening my daughter asked what the big deal was- it’s fabric- you sew – make one…Well a few YouTubes later,  a dig through my fabric stash and I was committed. I learned a lot about things I would do again or not if I absolutely couldn’t find a new shade. But I am here to tell you~ I now know why you pay a lot of money for an odd size silk lampshade !!!! I think I am ready to pay the big bucks and check that off my list the next time! I hope this one lasts a long time too!
    A picture of angela W@alters teaching a free motion quilting class
    Angela Walters

    Finally, I squeezed in a 2 day class with Angela Walters at our local guild. I really liked her and her class. I have watched her Craftsy classes, but she is lovely ,inspiring lady in person. She is so down to earth and makes everyone feel welcome and  able to tackle that next quilt ~ it just makes you happy. It is what we hope we are to everyone we meet- inspiring, kind, encouraging .

As we are heading into Thanksgiving here in the USA , I am so thankful for my wonderful life, family and good friends.  I wish you the same wherever you may be. I have missed blogging with you all so please jump in and share what you have been up to. Link up  below and don’t forget to spread that Linky thankfulness around!
With an Attitude of Gratitude,
Love and Hugs ,
Debbie

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Quilt Back Clean Up

a picture of quilt back clean up Do you all have a lot of pesky fraying threads making your quilt back clean up a dog? Cleaning up the back of my quilt after I have finished piecing is one of my least favorite things to do.  I know it is so important to the the quality of my finished quilt but when I finish the top, I am biting at the bit to get to the quilting stage.
This isn’t my first rodeo- I have made light colored quilts before, but never with this much contrasting color (black and red) butting up against stark white. I have fished my fair share of rogue threads showing through the finished quilt with my trusty fine thread hook- no fun at all.  The fabric is  a decent brand and therefore supposedly, decent quality.  But even so ,does it seem to you guys that most fabrics fray more than they did 10 years ago? Or am I just tough on my quilts when piecing?  I know I love the feel of fabric,  but I swear, I’m not rolling around the floor with my completed quilt blocks (now there’s a visual  🙂 !)- but they sure do look like it!

I do do the obvious and clean up each block when it’s completed.… more or less. My real aha moment or thought is that in the future (and I do have another white background quilt in the horizon) I will dig out my pinking shears and trim up some of those seams after piecing the block but before piecing those blocks together into a quilt top. I am a slow learner, but I think this may help when using white against high contrast colors. I can’t see me doing that all the time, but I would have saved a couple days in prep (and an extra trip to the dollar store for more tape lint rollers) if that aha moment came a little earlier .
I started to try and use my pinking shears on this top, but felt that I was courting disaster. The pinking shears are just too big and bulky to use after the top is assembled. The risk of accidentally cutting my top was a real possibility I could so see me doing.

Am I the only messy-Bessy out here? Do you think our fabrics fray more these days?  Do you mind the quilt back clean up? What is your routine to have minimal fraying at the end of the quilt top construction? Do you starch the devil out of your fabric and just resolve yourself that you will wash the quilt top when your done? Inquiring minds want to know!….
Happy Quilting my Friends !
Fraying in Florida
(aka, Debbie 🙂 )

Beveled Edge Inside Circle Template

a picture of the beveled inside edge template

In the beginning of the summer I received a beveled inside circle template from Teryl Loy Enterprises. Teryl McKnight and her husband John are Innovis Longarm dealers out in Utah , run an on-line quilting supply store and manufacture longarm rulers/templates. What is unique about their templates? Well, first they manufacture rulers in 2 different thicknesses -the traditional 1/4” longarm ruler and a thicker 3/8” ruler. The second is that all her rulers/ templates have a beveled edge. 
Why does that matter??… In one word- clearance.

As quilters we are pretty good at avoiding the sides of our ruler foot that is difficult to get around. As sit-down quilters we are lucky that we can turn our quilt to get us out of those tight situations. But lets face it- if you have a larger quilt, you don’t what to be swinging that quilt back and forth every other pass of the ruler. This is where the bevel may be helpful. Of the 5 ruler feet that I tried this template with, the tightest was (no big surprise) the low- shank feet.
On a low-shank foot, I was  able to make circles without feeling like the fit behind the foot was too tight. When I was doing designs like the clam shells or cathedral windows with a low-shank foot and I had to reposition the template half way around the circle I could feel some tightness toward the back . Still do-able, I just needed to be aware of it so I lined up my ruler carefully. Performance  of this template with a low-shank foot will vary due to the different clearances in machines.
I think these circle templates are nice if you are using an APQS Longarm style foot (like my George) or high shank DSM. I loved how it floated all the way around my foot without having to reposition my hands. I never felt any tightness or awkward passes when playing with various designs on my George.
My only real criticism is that this template does not have a “key” for the slot that we use to slide it on and off my machine. As sit-down quilters we apply more pressure pushing the ruler against the foot. Most of the time- if I am paying attention- I can anticipate the opening and glide past….but sometimes I get a small hiccup :).

a picture ofmy hiccup to the bottom of my circle where my foot hit the channel
notice my hiccup to the bottom of my circle where my foot hit the channel

Circle templates are one of those things that most quilters end up needing at one point or another. They are handy for feather wreath spines, shield and buckle designs, orange peel or cathedral windows and  clam shells for a few quick examples of a template with multiple uses .
I think these beveled edge rulers may allow us sit-down quilters to do ruler work without having to turn/ reposition our quilts as much- which is a real plus in my book. I am eyeing a few other templates that I think may come in really handy……..
I hope you will visit Teryl’s website : www. terylloy.com. Be sure to check out her great video tutorials on using some of her templates!
Have a great week!
Debbie

a picture of my thread painted clematis quilt

Thread Painted Clematis Quilt

Welcome to The Quilt Journal  and My Friday Finish!

a picture of my thread painted clematis quilt
Thread Painted Clematis Quilt- pattern by Melinda Bula
I had a long list of things I wanted to finish or accomplish this summer. This thread painted clematis quilt was only one of them. For one reason or another this has been my only significant finish in a few months (funny how that happens when sadly you haven’t really had time to sew in over 2 months). I am so grateful to Laura over at TGIFFriday.blogspot.com for lighting that much needed fire under my butt to make me re-enter life and get quilting!

Some of you may remember that I started this quilt back in January after taking a class taught by Melinda Bula at my local quilt guild. This quilt is made from my friend Sherry’s and my stash (outside of the background fabric). Funny how saying it came from your stash practically makes you glow with pride….justifying all those purchases right??? lol :). Pooling our stash really helped. It’s harder then you think to come up with a variety of color values to try and make your palate work. I don’t know that you will ever actually see a clematis that looks like ours, but I love pink and purple…..so I’m a happy camper.

close up of front of quilt showing color fabric and thread choice

Things that did or didn’t work for me during this project

another close up picture showing thread paintingMelinda likes Steam-A-Seam 2 to fuse her quilts. I like Steam-A-Seam too, but it does add a lot of fusible . Not entirely a bad thing. Due to the Steam-A-Seam and heavy quilting my quilt is rather stiff and lays really flat. Both good things for a wallhanging. The negative is I had layers of the fusible, some areas 5 or 6 fabrics thick to quilt through. Not all thread or machines like that. I started quilting this on my Baby Lock Ellisimo with Sulky 30 wt Rayon (Melinda’s prefered thread). No matter what needle I put in (topstitch, mirotex, embroidery, sharps, jeans ,titanium) the rayon shredded. Changing my thread to Floriani or Glide helped, but my Ellisimo wasn’t in love with this project. Consequently, I quilted the bulk on my George.
 The other consideration is paying attention to your tension.If you look closely at the picture of the stitching on the back, you can see my tension wasn’t always ideal, not terrible, but not perfect either- depending on what area I was quilting.
 I thread painted this quilt with Floriani Polyester, Glide poly, and Superior threads variegated Omni and Magnifico, all 40 wt in top and in the bobbin. These threads were great- no hassle threads. I used a variety of manufactures to get the colors I needed to match the fabrics.
a picture of the back of the quilt more clearly showing thread painting
The small white spots are either fusible or the warm and natural batting being pushed through the back of the quilt on my occasionally gummy needle

Finally the last thing that didn’t work so well for me, was Melinda’s technique of starting and stopping a stitch line.  Melinda pulls her threads to the top takes a few stitches and clips the tails. She feels that all the fusible will fuse the thread ends in the quilt when you hit it with an iron and make your stops and starts invisible. I found that sometimes my threads did come loose in-spite of all my ironing. Little bird nests do show more on the back where I start or finish if I take a few extra small stitches with 40 wt to secure those tails. It’s also difficult to bury threads with the heavy stitching and fusible. I think it’s just one of those things that I need to work on perfecting that technique. Maybe my big ole Rowenta steam iron doesn’t get hot enough??? Inquiring minds may want to figure that out. haha

I had a lot of fun with this quilt and would love to do a poinsettia for the holidays….some year !?! Thanks for stopping by and visiting!
Debbie

Now onto Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday.

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Also heading over and linking up with can I get a Whoop Whoop!