Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Circular Attachment

If you ever have the ability to learn how to use this bad boy, do it! I'm sure there's some kind of YouTube video for your machine on how your particular attachment works on it.

If you don't have this attachment, find somebody you know who does and watch it work. It's truly an underutilized piece of equipment our sewing machines have the capability of using.

We had a long session yesterday during our Stitcher's Garden class where Kathy demonstrated how her Bernina attachment worked, and then we were let loose on our own machines. Unfortunately, Mike does not have this attachment. Fortunately, Laura does, and so I ended up taking her yesterday.

Kathy even showed how to use painters tape, a thumb tack, and an eraser to make your own circular attachment. It didn't work as well, but students were at least allowed to play with it during class if their machine did not have the attachment.

After watching the in-class demo and playing with Laura (who no longer stitches very well due to her overuse), I came home and found out Mike has the capability for facilitating one, but no attachment came with him. This is something I'll add to my wish list for future gift giving. It's an expensive part; around $50, but the project possibilities are endless with all the stitches both Mike and Laura have to offer on their respective machines.

Caleb is now home for the holiday's so maybe my Christmas spirit will start to pick up a bit. Packages are arriving daily from around the U.S. and there is a brisk chill in the air. We even see a snowflake or two floating down from the sky.

Tonight is our Guild Christmas party. It'll depend on how much Amish Star long arming I get done whether I attend or not. Sew-In is this weekend and I can't very well take DW along for the ride, so today will be spent mostly on my feet in front of him to get this very special Christmas present completed.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Another Amish Star Quilt

My third; a Christmas gift for my father and after this one, I don't think I want to see another.

While they are beautiful quilts, I feel like I'm nearing "production" mode in having to make so many.

I know, three doesn't sound like a lot, but truthfully, making one quilt, let alone three of the same kind, is a LOT of work!

From previously, all the quilt tops were already completed. I needed backing fabric for the MIL's and my fathers. The MIL's quilt is on its way to Traverse City where she lives while I'm completing the second one here. Thank goodness!

The backing finally arrived on Saturday, and after getting the rest of the Christmas decorations up, the tree purchased, brought home, set up and decorated on Sunday, I was able to get back in here yesterday to continue on.

The first border, row one, and the first sashing were completed before retiring from DW. How come the first border(s) always take so long? It seems like I should have accomplished more after six hours on the machine, but nope, that's all I completed.

After that many hours, I decided I needed to do something else. While long arming, I was pondering what it was I was going to do, and even after shutting the machine down, still didn't know, so I made two more string blocks until I could make up my mind.

I love Amy Gibson, and she has been so busy with her family to really do a whole lot out there in cyberspace. But because I loved doing the BOM from 2012 on Craftsy, and I still have the class in my cue, decided to recreate another quilt using different colors. I still have the retro 20's prints left that Andrew purchased for me three years ago, and decided I had enough of those to head in that direction.

And, I'm using the Leah Day class to work out how to quilt the piece once each block is done. The first 2012 BOM was set into my exchange blocks with the Scrap Squad girls, and I'll long arm that the same way I'm going to DSM the new blocks I'm making.

The new blocks will be done more like a quilt-as-you-go method. In a nutshell; the large quilt with the added blocks will be more loosely quilted so the bed quilt will be all snuggly. It's larger anyway since 9 more blocks were added to it. The new quilt will be quilted a little tighter since I'll only be working with 12 1/2" blocks and can practice my micro quilting on Mike. Yeah! Now I have something to do to keep my mind off the fact not all the family will be together this holiday season.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ouch

My quilt bit me. Yep. It actually drew blood, and this time it wasn't my clumsiness in handling a pin or needle. Well, maybe it was my clumsiness, but not intentionally.

Somehow, while long arming this thing, a pin got stuck between the layers. It let me know about this yesterday while trimming binding threads. It poked me repeatedly and the final poke drew blood. I rooted out the source only to discover one of the flower-headed pins I use to attach to DW's leaders became dislodged (somehow) and ended up inside the quilted layers.

Long story short; after rummaging around here for a set of pliers to remove said pin (the flower heads easily separate from the metal shaft...thank goodness) all was well after the minor quilt surgery.

Here is the final quilting and now I can say farewell to a piece I never really liked from the start.

Rounded Feather

Swirls

Fern Feather

Circular Feather

Corner Feather

Loops and Long Swirls

Partial Feathers, Long Swirls, and Fairy Swirls

The Final Pepperdish
I took it along to Guild and everybody seemed to like it. After having one of the girls hold it up at a distance it didn't seem too awful bad. I'm just glad it's over!

One to bigger and better things. Yeah!

Mystery Clue #3 is out and hallelujah, it's just simple strip piecing and block construction. 120 units all together so we'll be working on those today.

I have a small chevron quilt that I loaded onto DW yesterday just to do some more practice with. I love long-armer Angela Walters, and I luckily have one of her books in my possession; she is such an inspiration. I'm goofing around with as many of her motifs in her book within this little chevron quilt since it offers such versatility for play. I have no idea what I'm going to do with the quilt once it's finished, but we'll cross that road later I guess.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

One

One thing accomplished yesterday. I was so into what it was I was doing that I never took lunch until way past 1:30. I couldn't believe what time it was when I looked at the clock.

Here's what a quilt looks like when it's all pinned and ready to get quilted on my sewing machine.

Pinning a quilt
You can see my chalk markings for the quilting, which is a wise thing to do prior to pinning the quilt.

And, then I changed my mind.

This quilt has a lot of bulky seams. Probably due to the curves and the method of construction, and I was concerned Mike would have trouble traversing said seams. I was also concerned about the size. As I was pinning I was having to shift the quilt quite a bit to get all the pins set in and this told me it was probably a little too big to put under Mike.

So, I unpinned.

And then I loaded it onto DW. I've been watching a number of videos on YouTube and Craftsy on free motion quilting and thought to myself, 'Hey, I need to practice. I don't really like this piece so it won't matter if I mess it up. Go for it.'

All of yesterday was school. Schooling in how to travel. Schooling in how to flip motifs in my head and then transfer to my hands. Schooling in how to fit motifs into tight (or loose) spots. Schooling in speed of quilting. Schooling in taking breaks and doodling designs before actually quilting them.

I took my time. I played. I LOVED it! And, the piece didn't turn out too awful bad. Maybe I'll even share it tonight with the Guild just to prove I got the dumb thing done and it's off my to-do list.

Oh wait, the binding. And it has to be washed. All the glue stick spots are pretty prevalent so I have to wash it before I can share it. It's still early. I should be able to make it if I get off my computer and actually do something. :-D