Sunday, April 27, 2014

First finishes on the new Millie!

Jonnie generously told me that she was totally fine with this large queen size quilt being the first quilt I've done on the new Millie. I loaded up a sample piece to practice on first. It sure is a different feel moving the machine instead of the quilt. But so smooth. I quilted half of my sample piece before I was tired of practicing and felt confident to start on Jonnie's quilt.

Her only stipulations were dark blue thread and swirls. She wanted the same pattern quilted that you can see in the blue swirls on the white background. If I quilted those directionally, it would mean that I would have quilt back and forth across the length of the frame. The only problem was that the backing fabric was pieced that way as well. Meaning it would have to be rolled onto the frame with a 12 inch pieced section running perpendicularly to the rollers.

I pinned it to the rollers and rolled it up. So the center is tight, the right side is taut, but the left is sagging, grrrr! I did some research online about loading quilts. Squaring up seemed to be important. So I did that, rolled it up again, and the sagging was on the opposite side!

By this point I had spent most of the morning loading and unloading this back. I hadn't even loaded the batting or the top. And of course there wasn't a single quilter that I know that was home. I finally got a hold of some quilters. Take the back off and rotate it so that the seams run perpendicular to the rollers was the advice. Jonnie was fine with non directional swirls. Thank goodness!

So I loaded the back the other way and things ran smoothly after that:)

This small 26 x 26 quilt for Knit One Smock Too was next. This one was great practice for ruler work and a more custom look. Get me into the swing of things without being too large and intimidating.

I've also been wandering around our yard with my iphone, hoping for just the right shot for an art quilt. Here's what I saw:


 Bleeding hearts



 Creeping phlox


My Japanese maple, which I don't think has grown an inch since we moved here 10 years ago.

Loving that spring has finally arrived. I could do without with clumps of pollen though. Oh well...

Thanks Jonnie and Knit One!

My first pantograph pics coming up...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Lite EZ-Steam II Review

I've been working on this quilt for my cousin's baby. I was out almost out of Wonder Under, so I ran up the street to Sewingly Yours for some more. Lo and behold, no Wonder Under. They did have a new product that looked interesting: Lite EZ-Steam II by Pellon. Their version of Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 I guess, which has annoyingly been off the market for some time. 

This product was on a roll, but seems very stiff, almost like interfacing. The sticky stuff is in the middle like an Oreo. It seemed light enough. My Babylock is very particular about fusible web. She doesn't like anything too thick.

I drew a piece of coral and traced over it with a dark marker. I pulled out the directions. Check to see which backing removes most easily. That seemed a little vague to me. There is a 'paper' side and a 'plasticky' shiny side. The paper side peeled easier I thought. So I traced my design on the shiny side, well my daughter traced it, and if her complaints were anything, drawing with pencil on shiny material is no easy job. She had a nice hand cramp by the end of it.

Step 3: Peel off the paper backing on the opposite side (ok, so I was right about tracing on the shiny side), and place the pressure sensitive adhesive against the wrong side of the applique fabric. Alright, this is sounding a lot like Steam-a-Seam Lite, right? Stick it on, cut it out, position right side up on the right side of your background. Hang on, do you peel the shiny fabric off first? Unfortunately it doesn't say. I am familiar with Steam-a-Seam, so I just assumed you do. But if you've never used fusible, you could be in trouble at this point.

Well, here I am in a whole lot of trouble anyway! I spent a lot of time cutting out this irritating shape and make the mistake of pulling the shiny sheet off too quickly. Let me tell you, this stuff is tacky! This isn't Steam-a-Seam for sure. That product has just the right amount of stick to keep the applique in place, but not cause problems. Lite EZ-Steam II is way to tacky. A couple of those coral limbs touched and the whole thing starting sticking together. You can see what happened when I tried to pull them apart. Big globby mess and strips of adhesive sticking out. No fun:(

I did try a small test piece before hand, with the shiny stuff stripped off just to be sure. I covered it with a damp cloth like the instructions say and fused it for 10 seconds, well maybe a couple more than that.

7. Once completely fused, Lite EZ-Steam II will not fray or lift off

Famous last words, haha! Well I did fuse it, and then I fused it again. I wanted to see just how stuck on this was so I starting picking at a corner. As you can see, it can be peeled off again. Maybe it needs to be fused on longer, I'm not sure, but I'm not impressed over all.

I give this product 2 out of 5 stars. It can be used in a crunch, but VERY carefully. I would definitely stitch it down after too, unless it is going on a wall quilt that will never be washed.

Note: I haven't tried to stitch through this yet. It is getting late and I'm feeling a little frustrated with the whole thing. But to be fair, it doesn't seem too thick.

Overall I prefer Wonder Under. Lite Steam-a-Seam 2 is my favorite, but unfortunately it is unavailable:( Anyone have any good alternatives that aren't too thick to be stitched through?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Mwaa ha ha!

Sundance has arrived! All set up and ready to go. Just need to figure out how to work it, hehehe:)

Had a big birthday bash today for my middle daughter. Managed to get the studio back in order. Time to have a break and then hit the manual.

Actually caught my husband holding the handles and 'practicing' with the power off:)

Thanks so much Debbie for trusting me with your baby and a HUGE thanks to her husband for bringing it out to me and setting it up! I couldn't be happier!

Friday, April 18, 2014

George has sold!

My studio looks empty now. George went off to his new home today. Patsy Thompson of Patsy Thompson Designs came by and tried out the machine this morning. She liked it so much that she loaded it up in her car and took it home with her! It's kind of exciting selling my machine to a celebrity in the quilting world;)

So the studio is looking bare. But not for long. Debbie's 2008 APQS Millenium is moving in tomorrow at 9am. How is that for superior service! Just to give you an idea of how big this machine is, have a  look at the rug. The new Millenium will be as wide as the rug and fit in the space of the entire rug (minus about 6") and go all the way to the far back wall! She thumbs her nose at king size quilts. No more crawling on the floor for me. Roll those puppies up and set to work!

In the meantime, I have about 24 hours to fit in some piecing of my own. I'm determined to master the half square triangle. I saw a block on Pinterest that involved changing colors in a block and I've wanted to try it out.

You start out with a piece of fabric with two basic colors and then you expand the two colors in opposite directions. I think I'm happy with the block on the right, but still a little unsure about the left hand block. All yellow half square triangles didn't look right, but the blue isn't quite right either. Wondering if I should use some of that sunflower print to bridge the gap.

Here's my last quilt using George. It is for Knit One Smock Too.

I got to try out a new leafy floral design. Very simple, but a lot of fun to quilt.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Kim's quilt

Kim's father gave her this antique quilt top that he found in his mother's things after she passed. She said he didn't remember her ever working on it so it may even be her great-grandmother's.

Regardless, this quilt is beautiful! It is made entirely of these oblong hexies. And it is hand pieced. When I measured the quilt there was only a 1/4" to 1/2" difference in the sides. Incredible!

It was also almost perfectly flat when I laid it out to pin it. Only a very minute amount of ruffling at the edges. This woman was obviously an amazing quilter.

I followed the seams lines when I was quilting so I wouldn't take away from the simple yet effective design.

These are some of my favorite fabrics showcased in the quilt.

Love these bunnies! There were only a few pieces that matched. Almost every one of these oblong hexagons are in different prints. It is a great display of vintage fabric. A little of everything.

These grays and pinks are very modern looking.

I was really reluctant to give this quilt back;)

Thanks Kim!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Annette's quilts

The first quilt Annette brought me was a charity quilt. She had won the fabric at the local shop hop.

Feathers, she wanted.

I quilted feathers on the blocks of colors and then filled in the rest with some variety.

This pink and blue quilt showcases some gorgeous Amy Butler fabric.

I outlined the basic design on the showcase fabric and quilted some Asian feathers in the blue triangles.

And flowers in the pink fabric.

Thanks Annette!