Thursday, April 26, 2012

Free Motion Quilting - finally!

First, I made a video that was 5 minutes in length and wasn't too bad as home videos go of moi free motion quilting my hexagon tablerunner.  Sadly we can not upload it, several attempts were made, ethernet cable was purchased and plugged into the box etc. and still no upload to YouTube.  I am so frustrated at this point, so we are going to have to settle for photos until we figure out what the problem is. One of my sons insists we need a better computer, a really expensive super computer!!! Yeah right....

Sew, here is an extra large picture of what I did in the Hexagons!  I free motioned a heart shape in each pie shape wedge. You can see that I was creating the hearts in a sort of figure 8 fashion, meaning I would start in the center of the block and sew in the ditch going up the left side and then sewing in a clockwise direction I created the top of the heart. I would then sew in the ditch back down on the right seam into the center and do the opposite wedge of the previous wedge just sewn. Phew, does that make sense??  I would then clip threads once all the inner wedges had their hearts and start working on the outside, in this case the brown fabric.  The only difference is I keep going around the circle and I don't cross through the center to the opposite side.

How do I do this without a wobble (well their are a few wobbles here and there), PRACTICE!!!  I have spent a great deal of time doodling and drawing shapes and then creating suitable shapes that would be fairly easy to create with thread.  Everyone can do it, you just need to practice and practice some more.

The applique flower was quilted with echo stitching, there are some wobbles on this one but I don't care it still looks lovely and sometimes the wobbles make the piece more charming (If I keep repeating that I will start to believe it).  The quilting done in the cream half hexagons and half triangles have small stippling and that is all there is to it!

Here is another colour option, Helen sent this photo to me and she used Butterscotch and Roses by Fig Tree  Quilts.  Notice that Helen used two colours for her flowers, and her free motion quilting is brilliant.  Free motion quilting is all about practice, practice and more practice. This particular project is perfect for experimenting with quilting. Notice in Helen's piece how she quilted a flower/star shape in the inner hexagon. It is very effective and can be done without drawing the shape onto the fabric.  Just Practice!!!
 If you are interested in learning more about free motion quilting we are holding a class on Sunday 13 May from 10:00am until 5:00 pm. There are a number of spaces still available. 7

Happy sewing!
Anne Marie

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Secret Garden Tablerunner

Okay, so I have been plodding away on this tablerunner and am delighted with it so far. The 3 flower appliques have been slow going, mostly because my machine foot pedal is shot and I have to keep pressing the start/stop button which also means that I have my Janome speed control at the slowest notch.  Having said all that I am very pleased and hoping to start free motion quilting it tomorrow.
One thing I will say is when you are using a blanket stitch it really is a great idea to slow your machine down to the slowest speed if you have that option on your machine.  By not having the foot pedal I had to concentrate on the stitching and be ready to hit the button, as a result the stitching is far more even and little to no blips!!!

I did a small zig zag stitch around the flower center using matching blue thread. Each flower took about an hour to applique, the fussy part was the stitching in the concave area down by the center of flower. I used the hand wheel to manipulate the needle so that it would fall in the right area and take bites where I wanted.

Stay tuned for some free motion quilting and a final reveal!

Happy sewing!
Anne Marie

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tablerunner a La Hexagon

Sew, this weekend I have been working on my spring tablerunner. This is the tablerunner that I showed in my last post. I have been working from my Sizzlin Sixties book of patterns by Heather Mulder Peterson. Using the new fabric that arrived last week, Butterfields, my Garden Party pattern and a sixty degree triangle ruler; let the fiesta begin.  First, I cut 2 strips from each 1/4 yard and three strips from the half yard of cream fabric. Now I would love to tell you the exact measurements but since this is not a pattern I designed and there are copyright issues you will just have to either figure it out yourself or buy the book! Sorry but dems de rules....  And just for the record, all of my customers that have bought this book and ruler have admitted to becoming addicted and can't stop at just one project.  Perfect for using up all those pretty jelly rolls, I know I have made over half the projects in the book!! Anywho, I picked the colour pairs that I felt worked best and then the sewing and subcutting began.

I then laid out all my triangles, half hexagons and half triangles.  Trying to balance the colours and changing hexagons around.  I did discover a mistake or what I think is a mistake; the half hexagons are supposed to be cut by placing the bottom of the 60 degree triangle at the 8 1/2" line and cut, however these half hexagons are two small. I worked out that if you cut 10" long rectagles and then using your triangle cut the angles the half hexagons will the perfect size.  I know this is seriously confusing but trust me the way it is explained in the book doesn't work.

After dinner today I started to sew the half hexagons into rows and then the top three rows together.
This is the type of pattern that requires a bit of space for laying it out.  In fact this pattern has to be laid out and just doesn't work unless you sew all the rows together first and keep an eye out for your seam directions but also because you are sewing in rows and not actually sewing the hexagon together first.

This project has been the perfect project for me, complex and challenging but finished in no time.  I have been in a bit of a funk lately and I needed something to help me get my groove back.  Running the shop, teaching classes and raising a family can keep me from doing alot of sewing and sometimes you need that special project that gives you a boost and leaves you craving more!!!

Especially when your seams come together like this, ahhhh  perfection!
Tomorrow, the remaining three rows and some applique and if we are really on a roll then maybe some free motion quilting!!

Happy sewing,
Anne Marie

Thursday, April 5, 2012

New Arrivals of the Woven Variety

We had some new arrivals this week! Before you roll your eyes and say dear God not another lamb post, the arrivals are of the woven variety!  Margot Languedoc of The Pattern Basket has designed her first line of fabric for Henry Glass & Co. and it is gorgeous.  Margot is Canadian and her blog is a favourite of mine, she always has such beautiful projects and her taste in fabrics mirrors mine.  If you pop over to her blog and see all the beautiful projects she has created with "Butterfields" you will see what I mean.
My pictures do not do this line of fabric justice, trust me.  A friend of mine and a lovely customer named Helen, made a beautiful table runner from a Heather Mulder Peterson pattern two years ago and I have decided that this is the perfect fabric to use in the same pattern. I will be diligently working away on it next week and enjoying every minute of it.  Helen tells me that she gets more comments on this tablerunner, it is a great size too.
This is made using a 60 degree triangle and 2 1/2" strips. I think the spring colours of Butterfields will be perfect for my dining room.  Note the charming disposition of my shop assistant, this was a year and a half ago and his enthusiasm for holding up objects for photos was not what he would call cool!!  He is now almost 6 foot tall and he will do anything for his mother, it was a phase. LOL

Shop hours for next week; Monday 9 April thru Friday 14 April, we will be open each day from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm. 

 Feel free to come on by and see what we have, there is a lovely bargain table with fabrics reduced but they are rapidly disappearing.

Happy sewing!
Anne Marie

Monday, April 2, 2012

Another Favourite Tool

First, before I begin, I have added a few classes onto the Class Schedule.  I have been approached by a number of women looking for an introductory one day class for patchwork.  I have tried to come up with a solution, learning patchwork in one day is a challenge.  I have broken down the patchwork basics as best I can into several classes.  This first class is all about rotary cutting. Students will cut fabric for a small project that they can assemble at home.  This class takes place on 22 April from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm.  There is a second class that follows on from this one on the following Sunday, 29 April.  The second class is all about half square triangles and flying geese.  These two courses will allow the students to work on their own at home during the next few months. Sew, if you or any friends are interested in learning patchwork then give us a call and reserve a space.

Since we all love pictures and I have nothing to share regarding the above paragraph I am sharing with you how I spend my summer months! The chap in the purple and gold on the right hand side is my oldest boy playing hurling for the Co. Wexford development squad.

Back to patchwork! We all have a favourite tool, I talked about my stiletto in a previous post and how I use it. Another favourite tool of mine is a square up ruler from the Quilt in a Day Company, the fabulous Eleanor Burns.  Say what you like about El and her style, she does know her business and I find some of her rulers superb.  This little 6 1/2" square ruler is the key to creating perfect half-square triangles. Everyone that has started using this gem absolutely swears by it.
Essentially, you create your half-square triangles about an 1/8" larger than called for and you trim it down after you sew on both sides of the diagonal line.
Let's say you need to create two half square triangles, using a dark fabric and a light one. The HST's are to be an unfinished 3 1/2" square. So, you begin by cutting two squares, one light and one dark each measuring 4" not the usual 3 7/8". Place your two squares right sides facing and draw a diagonal line from one corner to the opposite corner. Sew 1/4" on each side of the diagonal line. When you have finished sewing your two lines you can cut on the center diagonal line, thus creating your two HST's. Now, before you open up the triangles to gaze at you gorgeous squares do two things. First, take you triangle in one hand and your Square Up ruler in the other. Place the ruler over the triangle with the 3 1/2" line over the stitching line and trim around the two sides of the triangle.

Second, take your triangle and press open. Be sure to press, not iron, and open up the seam from one point to the other. I personally finger press my seams open and I run my thumb all the way along the seam making sure that at the points the fabric is completely open. Measure and hold your breath that the square is exactly 3 1/2" square! Ta Da!!!

 I admit these are not the greatest photos, you have to see me do this live in order to appreciate the magic!