Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Free-Motion Quilting Challenge

For this months challenge I made a place mat for one my guild's (Cobblestone Quilters Guild) charities.  We have been making  place mats for our local Meals on Wheels.  I used Don Linn's method of transferring the stencil to my fabric, and I must say I really like this technique.  I have always hated marking quilts - but have found this to be fast, accurate, and easy.

Like Paula Reid I found that once I had enough space to the left and back of my machine, my free motion skills improved greatly.  I have a wonderful table that my husband cut a hole into so that my machine is level with the surface.  Unlike Paula, however I don't like to have the quilt sitting on my lap - probably has something to do with the heat in Charleston most of the year! I tend to "fluff" the whole quilt on the table.  I have machine quilted fairly large pieces this way.

After I quilted the center medallion, I then added small flowers in the corners and then practiced my echo quilting.  I need to work on the spacing of the echos.  They varied a little more than I would like.

The finished project:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dreaming of Fall - Part 2

Last post I showed the beginning of a small wall quilt I was working on for a class sample and it is now ready for quilting.

To start off I wanted to stitch in the ditch around the inner border.  I hate stitching in the ditch because I am not very good at it, but recently had seen either a post or a discussion on using your blind hem foot to aid in staying in the ditch.  I can't remember where I read or heard it but decided to give it a try.

It really does work.  I used a light tan thread and as I sewed pulled a little on each side of the quilt to separate the seam slightly.  The thread went right in the ditch and as long as I stayed focus and relatively slow, the thread just about disappeared.  This is the best stitch in the ditch I have ever done and will use this technique again.

After I had the inner border quilted on either side, I wanted to use a small curve around all the edges of the cream and wanted them to be similar in size and look.  Since I hate marking, I used a small piece of Tiger Tape to mark the center of each curve and the size from the edge I wanted to go in the block. This small piece was moved around the quilt and was still sticky enough to hold on all the way to the end,

And although they weren't perfect curves, I didn't have any marks to remove either!

Now to quilt the inside of the leaf.  I free-motion leaves and swirls using a variegated thread all over the leaf.

The quilt is done and now hanging at Stitch 'n Sew Fabrics.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Dreaming of Fall - Part 1

At this time of year living in the coastal south begins to get a little tiresome.  Hot, humid days seem to stretch forever and having grown up in Colorado, I begin to dream of the crisp, cool days of fall and the changing of the leaves.

I am starting to teach a series of technique classes at Stitch n' Sew Fabrics  in Mount Pleasant called Fat Quarter Fridays.  The class will be held the second Friday of the month and will work on techniques using only two or three fat quarters.  Each class will be a different technique and require only basic rotary cutting and sewing skills

The class to be held on October 12th will be on half-square triangles.  The class will work on several different ways to make half-square triangles including the traditional mark and sew  through the center of a square, using the Easy Angle ruler by Sharon Hultgren and the Strip Tube Ruler.  After we make triangles we will assemble a maple leaf block and talk about how to finish it into a small wall quilt.

For the class sample I pulled the maple leaf fabric and inner border from my stash and used a Phenomenal Fall by Moda charm pack for the outer border and the back. The outer border has simple, random curved piecing.

As I was in a bit of a hurry to finish this piece and didn't really want a binding on the quilt, I finished by sewing the all the way around the piece after stacking a layer of batting, the top face up, and the back face down. I then very carefully cut an X in the backing fabric and pulled the quilt right sides out.  To make better corners, I always angle one or two stitches across the corner and trim the fabric away.

Now the quilt is ready to be quilted which I will show in my next post.