Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Two steps forward... One step back...

Do you ever feel like you're going so slow or having so many setbacks on something you're almost going backwards? Well that's how I've been feeling the past few weeks.

I have a deadline of early next week to finish one of my largest un-bloggable (for now) quilts, and that's pretty much all I've been working on for the last month so apologies for the absence. While I am not able to write much about the actual project (yet), I can use this post to vent some of my frustrations!

Even though I love my new DIY sewing machine extension table and it's doing the job well, I'm really not enjoying the actual quilting part of making quilts right at the moment. If I could just make quilt tops and have them quilt and bind themselves that would be fabulous! (yes I know I could pay someone to do the quilting for me but I really want to be able to do these things from start to finish all by myself).

My biggest issues with my current project have been fine-tuning the machine tension settings; and getting that balance between pedal speed and fabric movement under the needle for my free motion quilting just right. And if you were wondering what happens when you don't get those two things right.. I've put a pic below of the back of one of my practice pieces.. it's really ugly.

See the 'eyelashing' on some of the curves? That's because my speeds weren't balanced.

The other pops of darker thread showing through are because the machine tension settings are not right.

Of course both the eyelashing and the pops are more noticeable because I have a light coloured thread in the bobbin and a dark thread on the needle for half of this quilt (the other half will be dark top and bottom).

It took me days and days, and lots of practice pieces before I got both adjusted to what I thought would be acceptable i.e. to a point where I thought they were gone or were at least minimal enough to disappear when the finished quilt is washed and everything relaxes, crinkles and fluffs back up.

I'm doing Quilt As You Go (QAYG) for this project so I'm quilting individual sections (each about 70 x 11 inches) before joining everything together and then binding it for a finished quilt. Thinking I had overcome my issues with the tension and speed I really got stuck in and proceeded to do the quilting on five of the sections (I think all up there will be 10 or 11 sections in the finished quilt). There was only a little bit of popping and only a couple of really minor little eyelashes so I was pretty happy with that progress.

Over the weekend just passed I got the idea that I should probably try washing one of my practice pieces just to confirm that the little inconsistencies would actually be hidden after that process. So that's exactly what I did - I trimmed up one of my practice pieces, bound the edges so it didn't fray and threw it in with my weekly laundry.

On one hand I'm really glad that I did, on the other doing it has added to my frustrations and really annoyed me.

Practice piece - back (after washing)

Practice piece - front (after washing)
I didn't expect that the larger mess ups would be hidden, but I had really hoped that some of the smaller ones would be. Nope - they're almost all still highly visible.

So tonight, and probably tomorrow this is what I'll be doing to the three white backed sections I've already quilted (Jack is getting a heck of a workout):


Less than a week until my deadline and I feel like I'm almost starting over with the quilting!

But... I'm determined that this quilt will be finished on time and that it will be awesome, so I'm not giving up.

A darker bobbin thread will stand out against the white backing fabric more, but after doing some more testing, it shows significantly fewer flaws so I'm switching over to that set up for the entire quilt. I'm going to embrace the visible quilting on the back as much as on the front instead of trying for matching thread colour with fabric and trying to make it look inconspicuous. (It's not a bug - it's a feature!)

I've got two more evenings after tonight, plus Friday off work and the weekend to quilt, assemble, bind and wash/dry this quilt before my deadline of Monday afternoon ... IT WILL GET DONE.

Fingers crossed and hoping for all of your positive thoughts to help get me through this.

Until next time

K

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Speedy Stitching


Sometimes you need to change things up a bit. I was like that the other night.

I've been in a quilt finishing frenzy recently - frantically trying to get a couple of quilts finished in time for the local show in a month - it felt like I was getting nowhere fast and I sort of lost my mojo.

A quick sew was in order and this little earbud pouch from Dog Under my Desk was just the thing.

Earbud Pouch - front
(from pattern and tutorial at Dog Under my Desk)

The great fabric the monster picked for the reverse of the earbud pouch

The monster chose the fabrics from my scrap stash, I just happened to have the perfect zip colour in my box of assorted randomness, and it came together in about half an hour.

This is a great, easy and super quick sew. I can see this little project becoming a regular in my repertoire of go-to last minute gifts.

Now back to quilting.

Until next time.

K

Sunday, 18 June 2017

I made a thing! Sewing machine extension table

I've reached the stage now with a couple of my WIPs that I will soon be doing a LOT of quilting (as opposed to just piecing quilt tops).

Each and every time I've done a quilt on the Brother in the past I've cursed that I don't have an extension table to make the quilting process a bit easier. I've had a look online and at my local stores and haven't been able to find anything that comes in at under $100. With cash a little tight at the moment, and WIPs needing finishing I decided to put on my big girl DIY pants and make something myself.

So off the the local hardware store I went (twice actually!). I came home with:

  • 600 x 900mm MDF customwood
  • plastic cabinet legs
  • 3mm plastic tubing
  • Glue

A bit of measuring, cutting and gluing later and I'm done! A benchtop extension table custom made for my sewing machine (and larger than any of the commercial ones I've looked at).



Sometimes I need a little reminder that sewing and crafting tools are not the only tools in existence and this project was just the thing. All up it came in at about $35 of materials and completed in just a few hours - win!

Now lets see if it holds up to the volume of quilting I'll be doing over the next month or so.

Until next time.

K

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Extras - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

Originally intended to be part of the design invitational, this pattern didn't quite get finished in time. But its done now and published on fandominstitches.com so I can share it with you all. Yay!

A huge thank you to the wonderful Jo Minvielle who tested this pattern for me in record time.

Paper pieced Labyrinth Title - Designed by me, tested by Jo Minvielle.







I designed this paper-pieced pattern to complement the quilt layout presented in the Fandom in Stitches Goblin King, a Labyrinth-themed Quilt & Stitch along.

It is an absolute monster of a block, finishing at 60 inches long by almost 15 inches tall. The intention was to create a title block that you could put inside the outer border of the quilt, at either the top of the bottom of the original layout.

If you are planning on using this block in conjunction with the QAL layout, you might want to add extra sashing around it so the spacing between this block and the character blocks doesn't look too uneven. You will also need to adjust (increase) the length of the outer border strips for the finished quilt.

Download the pattern here if you want to give this pattern a go, and don't forget to share pics of your finished work. I love seeing how others interpret my designs - no two ever end up the same.

Don't forget also, that all the patterns from Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along are available over at fandominstitches.com.

Until next time.

K

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Week 21 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

We're finally here! We've made it to the very centre of the Labyrinth and final week of official event patterns.


Of course the only way to finish off a 'Goblin King' event is to feature the Goblin King himself, Jareth, played in the movie by the late, great, David Bowie.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Week 20.3 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

Week 20 saw the release of my Humongous embroidery pattern as well as the assembly instructions for the left and right sections of the #LabyrinthQuilt on fandominstitches.com

Again the assembly instructions require adding sashing to each embroidered block before joining the sections together.

This week we work with Sir Didymus and Ambrosius, the Firey and the Four Guards.

I forgot to take pics of the individually sashed blocks, but the joined sections can be seen below.

Week 20.2 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

Continuing the assembly series - this is the second of 3 catch up posts.

Top and Bottom Section Assembly (from Week 19)


Week 19 was the start of actual sewing to put the quilt together.

A silly mistake

I was so excited to get to this part and get sewing, but when I pulled out all my completed blocks, I found several of them to be looking a little dingy. Sweaty hands + white fabric + embroidery hoop = not quite white fabric. It was irritating me. It was then that I made made a decision that I'm now seriously regretting...   I tried hand washing the unfinished blocks and of course some of the colours ran!
Wiseman's bird with reddish halo from the thread colours that have run.

Toby with some extra "shading and shadows" thanks to colour runs.
I've learnt my lesson. I'll use exclusively DMC embroidery thread from now on (only the non-DMC ones ran) and don't wash without colour catcher sheets in there (even hand washing).

Frustrated but still keen to move on to assembly I've left them as-is for now and pressed on. Hopefully a good wash once the quilt is finished and bound, with several colour catcher sheets in with it, will sort it out. It will be fabulous if that does work but as this is neither a gift or a show quilt I'll still enjoy the end product even if it doesn't.

So anyway... moving on...

Week 20.1 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

The posts on fandominstitches.com over the past three weeks for the #labyrinthquilt have included not just the character of the week, but also parts of the assembly instructions for the quilt.

As you know I'm doing 2x embroidered versions of the quilt. I am determined to have one of those finished with the quilt and stitch along; the other may need to wait a bit to be finished as I have a few other projects and deadlines coming up.

I've been a bit slack in posting my pics, so I'm about to make up for that with a series of 3 posts at once and lots of pics to catch up.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Week 20 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along


This week I'm pleased to be able to present another of my own embroidery designs for the Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along - Humongous!

I'm not sure whether he actually qualifies as a character in his own right, being essentially a metallic shell controlled like a giant puppet by a couple of goblins, but here he is.

In addition to my embroidery design, Angela Gross has also designed a fabulous paper-pieced version of Humongous.

Both patterns are available to download now from fandominstitches.com

Here are my two stitched versions of Humongous - he's designed to fit a 6 inch finished square and I've put quite a bit of detail in there so he's possibly just a little more intricate and time consuming to stitch up than some of the patterns in recent weeks.




If you're going to give my Humongous embroidery a go I suggest that you start with a larger piece of background fabric to allow for ease of hooping and trim it down to 6.5 inches when you're ready to assemble your quilt. I also strongly suggest not using more than about 2 strands of embroidery thread or the detail of the suit will be difficult to achieve.

That's it from me this week. I really should post about the assembly so far, but that will have to wait until next time.

K

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Week 19 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

The babe with the power!


Toby, taken from his bed by the Goblin King, is the reason for Sarah's whole journey through the Labyrinth. This week he's the feature character in the Fandom in Stitches Quilt and Stitch Along

But Toby is not the only thing going on this week! With only three more weeks of scheduled pattern releases there is so much happening it's hard to keep up.


Monday, 8 May 2017

Continuing the NQC Quilt Block Challenge Quilt

Continuing from last week's post where I made a gaggle of flying geese to lengthen the NQC Quilt, this week is all about making the quilt wider.

The geese I made last week will be flying across the width of the quilt. But when I tried also laying out some geese flying up and down to widen the quilt it was clear that wasn't going to work. The geese going both side-to-side and up-and-down made it really hard to focus on any one element. It was as if the geese were trying to draw the eye both everywhere and nowhere at once.

Lots and Lots of Half Square Triangles - Trying the 'Magic 8" Method

The two NQC Quilt Block Challenge quilts I've been working on have seen me making lots and lots of Half Square Triangles (HSTs) over the past couple of months.

For the main blocks I used a traditional two-at-a-time method of making the HSTs. But I wanted to use lots of smaller HST blocks for the sashing and border on the blue/grey yellow version of the quilt.

The volume of HSTs I had in mind for the additional parts of the quilt meant that I either needed to spend weeks sewing, cutting and ironing blocks, or I needed to find another way to get them done more efficiently.


Friday, 5 May 2017

Week 11 - NQC Quilt Block Challenge

In my last post about the NQC Challenge quilts I mentioned  that I'm planning something different with my grey/blue/yellow version of the quilt.

I love how the Christmas version, completed as per the challenge instructions, turned out. But for this one I want something large enough for at least a queen size bed.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Week 18 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

We're getting so close to the end of the Labyrinth now - Week 18 and and only about a month to go until we're all done.

I still don't think we've seen enough of the Goblins of the Labyrinth yet, so I'm excited that this week we've got another couple to choose from.

This week's patterns have been designed by Kylie Pecarina (paper-pieced) and Jennifer Ofenstein (embroidery) and are available now on fandominstitches.com.

Here are my two versions of the embroidery pattern.

Week 18 - Goblin 4 (color version)
Designed by Jennifer Ofenstein, stitched by me
for the Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

Week 18 - Goblin 4 (mono version)
Designed by Jennifer Ofenstein, stitched by me
for the Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along


Monday, 1 May 2017

Week 10: NQC Quilt Block Challenge

All nine (18) blocks have now been completed and its time to put these quilts together.

The Christmas quilt top has come together really quickly - 3 inch sashing between the blocks, join the blocks into rows and then join the rows into a completed quilt top. Easy Peasy!

Here's the quilt top done - the breeze came up and fluttered the top around just as I took the pic, but you get the idea. All that's left to do with this one is to choose a backing fabric and quilt it.

NQC Quilt Block Challenge - Christmas Quilt
Made by Me
I've got some plans for additional stuff with the grey/blue/yellow quilt. That one is taking a bit longer to complete and I'll be sharing progress on that one over the next few weeks,

Until next time

K

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Week 17 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

"Well, the only way out of here is to try one of these doors!"
"One of them leads to the castle at the end of the labyrinth, and the other one leads to.."
"Ba-baba-BOOM!"
"Certain DEATH!"


As you can see, this week's character as we travel ever closer to the end of the labyrinth to the is the enigmatic Four Guards.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Lest We Forget...

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;


Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.


At the going down of the sun and in the morning


We will remember them.


Today, on ANZAC Day, I'm taking a moment to pause and recognise all those men and women who are currently serving in our armed forces and those that came before them. 

In honour of the day I've designed a paper-pieced pattern titled "ANZAC: Dawn Service". 

Friday, 21 April 2017

Block 9: NQC Quilt Block Challenge

It's finally here - the last week of blocks for this challenge!

Aside from a bit of whining mid-way through, I made it through all nine blocks without too much drama.

So here they are, all nine finished blocks.

I'm actually looking forward to the quilt top assembly.

Block 7
Block 8
Block 9


Block 4
Block 5
Block 6
Block 1
Block 2
Block 3




Block 7
Block 8
Block 9


Block 4
Block 5
Block 6
Block 1
Block 2
Block 3

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Week 16 - Goblin King: Labyrinth Quilt and Stitch Along

What is the point of a Goblin King if there aren't goblins to rule over?


Until now we've only seen a couple of the goblins of the Labyrinth. We know they're hiding in there somewhere so this week its time to reveal some more.


Friday, 14 April 2017

Block 8: NQC Quilt Block Challenge

These blocks feel like they are getting easier and easier.

Week 8 blocks are done!

Block 7
Block 8



Block 4
Block 5
Block 6
Block 1
Block 2
Block 3





Block 7
Block 8



Block 4
Block 5
Block 6
Block 1
Block 2
Block 3

Only 1 block left!