Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Happy Valentine’s Day
February 14, 2010

I wish everyone a Happy Valentines Day!

Actually I do not really know what to write about. I am having a hard time trying to decide on a challenging project to work on. I finished quilting the little spiral table top quilt. It was really easy to do on the new sewing machine. The extra space and the wonderful feed system made the whole process quite easy. I am still bothered by the red swastika showing in the design. I mentioned it at a couple of quilt shops (there were big sales this weekend), and ladies at both places said that they have seen similar things happen with other patterns. So it is something I need to watch out for from now on.

I am going to try this pattern next. It is called a chop-suey pattern. It has places where 8 points come together and I want to practice that. It also is supposed to take only 8 hours to piece. I bought the pattern 20 years ago when Alex was a baby. I remember it was on sale at the time. I was going to make a small quick quilt for him even though I was working 60 hour weeks. Actually I got more done then, than I do now. I think I wore myself out. I had forgotten about the pattern and found it when looking though a box of old magazines. Right now I feel I need something quick and easy to work on.


I still need to bind the “Crazy 8 Strip Teaser” quilt, which is the pattern name of the spiral table topper. To sew the binding, which is a bias printed plaid, I had to cut straight of grain strips and then piece then together on the bias. The 8 corners will give me lots of them to practice mitering. I was really lazy and didn’t press the seams before taking this photo.  The plaid was a little tricky to try and match because the lines are drawn wiggly.  I sewed in the white space between two lines.  From a distance and on a quilt with, lets say, a more noticeable design feature , it won’t make any difference if the seams show.



Learning Curve
February 8, 2010

How hard should it be to make a small pieced table topper? Much harder than I imagined. Here are some things I have learned so far.

1. That I do not know how to choose appropriate fabrics. The printed diagonal plaid was really hard to make work, especially since the amount of fabric called for in the pattern didn’t allow me enough to chevron the pattern in any way. I had to settle on just keeping the solid color squares from touching each other. Even with some planning I still had a bit of ripping and switching things around. Also I need to pay more attention to value, some of the stripes blend into one another, others stand out too much.

2. I shouldn’t just glance at the pattern and think I know what to do. My squares go in the opposite direction than the way the design is supposed to go. This may have been a good thing, since the red stripes (which stand out too much) give off a swastika vibe, luckily they point in the opposite direction. I didn’t see that possibility at all when choosing this pattern.

3. There must be a better way to sew this pattern than going in a circle. It was really hard to keep the center points matching. I am thinking of breaking the pattern into quarters, then halves, then sewing one long seam across. That should work better.

Now I am going to try quilting this top to the backing. I will use the walking foot and stitch in the ditch. I will also use a straight of grain binding. The binding should be on the bias, but the yellow plaid fabric I chose is printed on the bias. If I cut on the bias, it will look straight of grain. I think the bias plaid will look better, though this topper is so busy that the binding probably won’t even be noticed.


I want to try this pattern again soon. I think it was a good beginning project because it brought up issues I hadn’t considered. I will think as a practice piece, and practice is always useful.

A Bit of Snow
January 31, 2010

We do not get snow at our elevation, but I could see it on the mountain tops. I took a photo from the grocery store, and it did not turn out as pretty as I thought it would. I think I need a telephoto lens. In the summer we do not even know those mountains exist because of the haze. It is so nice here after a winter rain storm, fresh and clean.


I didn’t get much in the way of crafting done this week. I am still practicing various things on Belle while reading books on digitizing and quilting. At Beverly’s I found fabric to attempt my first small quilt . It is going to be a table top cloth for our breakfast area. I wanted something sunny and bright. I think these Happy Camper Fabrics from Moda will be fun. I have not done very much rotary cutting except for biases. So that and actually quilting will be a new experience.


I took my BSR foot in to my dealer and had a heavier spring installed. I read on a Yahoo forum that it was recommended to eliminate skipped stitches on the 830. I think my BSR does work much better with the heavier spring. Before my stitches did not look even to me, now they do. Even though the heavier spring is not being recommended for other Bernina machines, several ladies have said they like how it works on their other machines too. Lots of ladies are lucky enough to have more than one Bernina. I did not have to pay for the upgrade, but I read it was only a few dollars for those that did pay.

I hope everyone had a wonderful week and that next week will be even better.

FM Practice
January 23, 2010

What have I been up to this week besides freezing? Not much. I must be cold blooded, because just like my tortoise, Thumper, I slow down when it gets cold.

I did manage to try free-motion quilting using the fabulous BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator). That attachment does make it much easier to go from never sewing without feed-dogs to free-motion sewing. I tried to stitch without it, but that did not go well for me. I like that even though I am not perfect at moving the fabric at a constant speed, I still get reasonably even stitches. I am getting better but still need a lot more practice before stitching on a project.

I read a tip that suggested using felt to practice. I had lots of old acrylic felt left over from Alex’s elementary school days. I like that I didn’t have to use any fabric to practice on. Actually felt may be easier to stitch too.

Please do not judge these samples harshly. I am a total novice with this type of sewing. It is going to take me a long time to get the hang of it. I had to break some old sewing habits. One was keeping the fabric oriented in the same direction. I am use to turning the fabric to go in the direction I want to sew.  The BSR has two settings. I am only able to use setting #2 that allows for short stops.  Setting #1 will sew in place if the fabric stops moving.  I need to stop and think to get a corner, otherwise I get a rounded shape.  Someday I hope to work up to setting #1.  Using setting #2 a button needs to be pressed to tie off the stitching.  Something that doesn’t bother me now, but I can see it being time consuming if I were to quilt a large quilt.

Here are some photos. The first one is of the pile of samples. The others are closeup of some motifs I tried.







More Quilt Inspiration
September 9, 2009

The mundane responsibilities of life are exhausting. So I grabbed an old quilt magazine and took a few photos to share for today’s post. The magazine is “Quilts Japan #3” of 2003. These are not the only nice designs, just the ones where my photographs were somewhat in focus.