Time for a Binding Day

With all the recent machine quilting practice I’ve accumulated quite a stack of quilts ready for binding.  I even found two more wall hangings after I took the picture.  They were tucked away in a box of unquilted tops.  I don’t know why I didn’t just take the extra half hour or so and get them finished before packing them away!! 

Many of these are charity quilts and they often prefer the bindings to be finished completely by machine.  I’m still not 100% happy with machine binding (I probably never will be!) so I tend to drag my feet on this.  If I took a day to get these done I could get them out of here…it’s just finding that day.

quilts for binding

Still Learning

These tops from Quilts Beyond Borders were perfect to practice machine quilting.  I’m still trying to get nice, smooth curves.  These quilts are pieced by others then sent to me for quilting and binding.  They are lap-sized quilts so they are great for practicing new techniques—big enough to gain some muscle memory but small enough that you can finish fairly quickly.

I just practiced moving the carriage back and forth on this Taz quilt. This utilitarian design is good for masculine quilts.  We’re supposed to quilt them to stand up to rough conditions so I like to do pretty dense quilting.

QBB-Taz

This one got overall swirls.  Not all of my curves are smooth yet, but they are improving.

QBB Squares

I’m finding the learning curve a little steeper than I thought it would be but I really like the nice, even stitches!

Learning Curve

Like many people, I started quilting after a progression of several other crafts; knitting, crochet, needlepoint, cross-stitch, etc., etc.  Since I started quilting though, I can’t get enough.  When a wide variety of techniques is combined with new ideas and fabrics it’s hard to get bored.  Over the years I’ve tried many new rulers and gadgets and bought hundreds of yards of new fabric even though I have a basement full of beautiful fabric that I still love.  I’m always up for a new experience except when it comes to my sewing machines.  I know there are many people who collect lots of machines and can sit down at any one of them and happily sew a project but I’m not one of them.  I like the same experience every time I sit down to sew and the consistency and comfort that comes with spending hundreds of hours a year at a particular machine.

About 20 years ago I “splurged” on a Bernina 1230 and used it for everything; piecing, applique and quilting for over ten years.  Then I bought a Juki since it had a bigger harp that made it easier to quilt large quilts.  I loved it for piecing too so it became my main machine.  Then seven years ago I bought a Voyager with a Hinterberg frame for quilting.  These three machines have all been workhorses for the past few years and I still love sewing on all of them.  I know there are many, many new machines with all kinds of great features and bells and whistles, but I just don’t want the steep learning curve of a new machine.  In fact, I have a newer Bernina with an embroidery module but the only thing I ever embroidered were some napkins.  I just don’t have enough interest to learn how to use it.  It’s bad enough when I upgrade a computer and have to learn new things (hello, Windows 8)!

But then I began seeing quilts on Pinterest, in blogs and at shows that have the most gorgeous quilting and started thinking that I might need a new longarm so I can up my game quilting-wise!  My Voyager is very basic–it doesn’t have a stitch regulator or computer.  I’ve only ever quilted my own quilts so it is a little difficult to justify spending all that money on a new machine when I really like the one I have and it does a very nice job.  I went back and forth trying to make up my mind when disaster struck and I was forced into an immediate decision.  I was quilting away when the electronics went out (well, it was a little more involved than that, but this is the condensed version!) and I knew it was repair, upgrade or replace.

I made a few calls and ended up talking to Steve Dekker of Dekk’t Out Quilting Supply.  Steve travels all over the US repairing and upgrading longarm machines.  It just so happened that he would be passing through Wisconsin between stops in Michigan and Iowa and could work me in right away.  I took that as a sign and decided to upgrade my current machine with all new electronics, including a stitch regulator!  When Steve diagnosed the problem, he determined that the electronics shorted out because I had damaged the power cord by running over it with the wheels on the track.  If I had examined the cord I could have avoided all of this with a new $5.00 cord!! It’s really weird, but somehow, though, I think this all worked together to lead me to a decision I would be happy with.

When Steve left it was like a brand new machine and I was very excited to start quilting!

Voyager

I was sure I just needed to load up a quilt and turn on the machine to be quilting show quality quilts!! Within a few inches though I realized the machine didn’t glide on the track the same way it did before and knew from using other stitch regulated machines that it was the encoders creating a little drag on the carriage that I wasn’t used to it.  So that means I’m practicing and learning and it gives me a whole new appreciation for all that beautiful quilting I see on the internet!

This is an older top and the fall colors made it timely to get it quilted.

Autumn panel

I started with simple meandering in all the squares then practiced a little fine stitching by outlining the panel motifs.  By the end of the quilt, the outlining was way more intricate than it was in the beginning.  I know some quilters would probably by horrified by the inconsistency but this quilt will only be thrown over the back of the couch a couple of months of the year so I concentrated more on practicing a variety of techniques more than perfection!

Autumn panel detail

Fortunately, I just received a box of tops to be quilted for Quilts Beyond Borders so there is a whole new stack of tops for practice.

Stop by Patchwork Times and check out the links for loads of inspiring Design Wall Monday projects.

Black Cat Crossing Blog Hop

 

WW Black Cat Logo

I have lots of fall decorations–quilts, wall hangings, table runners and such, but hardly anything for Halloween.  The Black Cat Crossing line of fabric by Maywood selected for this blog hop was perfect for a couple of fun Halloween projects.  I love working with Maywood Fabrics—such great quality!

Black Cat fabric

I LOVE curved piecing and have been wanting to make a quilt from the pattern Sweet Mint by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts.

Sweet Mint

There is an optional template set to cut the blades and outer quadrants of the square which I purchased with the pattern. Whenever I use templates like this for the first time I  make a few sample blocks to test how it works.  Sometimes there is a learning curve and I like to work out all the kinks before starting on a big project.  Sometimes, too, I decide I don’t like the process and can save a lot of time and frustration by simply moving on to another project.  This one worked out well, though and I was happy with the results. My three sample blocks became this table runner.

BC Runner-1

It turned out to be the perfect size for my coffee table.

BC Runner-2

The second project is the little wine glass lamp shades.  My friend Gill showed these at our small sewing group last week and everyone loved them.  They are just too cute and so simple to make with the Quiltsmart fusible interfacing panels.  You can place e a little flameless tealight “candle” in the bottom and use this for a nightlight or soft accent lighting.  If you want to some of these for yourself  just check with your local quilt shop to see if they carry this interfacing.

Wine Glass Shade

Thanks so much to Madame Samm at Sew We Quilt  for coordinating the hop and to Wicked Wendy at Why Knot Quilt for scheduling and cheerleading! To see other Wicked projects made from the Black Cat Crossing fabric, just click on the links below.  Today is the first day of the hop and it runs through the 31st so be sure to visit each blog on the appropriate day for lots of Halloween inspiration!

Monday, October 20
Why Knot Kwilt?
Lixie Makes It
Miss Priss Quilts
The Slow Quilter
Patchwork Sampler-you are here

Tuesday, October 21
Sew Incredibly Crazy
Coeur d’Alene Gifts
It Seams To Be Sew…
A Geeky Crafty Place

Wednesday, October 22

Creatin’ in the Sticks
Living With Purpose
Moose Stash Quilting
The Quilted Cat
Caryn S. @ Why Knot Kwilt?

Thursday, October 23
VroomansQuilts
Lovelli Quilts
Pampered Pettit
TeaTimeCreations

Friday, October 24
Just Let Me Quilt
Buzzing and Bumbling
Thimblemouse & Spouse
krislovesfabric
Quilt Doodle Doodles

Monday, October 27
Ridge Top Quilts
Dancing Moon
Kwilt Krazy
Lydsfire Sewing
Grandmama’s Stories

Tuesday, October 28
Selina Quilts
Jane’s Quilting
Quilted Delights
Words & Stitches
Seams To Be Sew

Wednesday, October 29
That’s Sew  Julie
Elizabeth Coughlin Designs
Quilting Queen Online
Sew Peace To Peace
A Stitch in Time

Thursday, October 30
On the Banks of Frog Creek
How Art You?
Cucki Stitching Cove
Dancing Moon Farmstead
Life in the Scrapatch

Friday, October 31
From My Carolina Home
Mammy Stitches
Bumbleberry Cottage
Just Because Quilts
Sew We Quilt

Little Logs Finished

On the recent See You In September Blog Hop I saw a little quilt top that was left unquilted and mounted on a canvas.  I really liked that idea and when I found the mini log cabin kit I knew it would be perfect project to make my own.  It is so easy and looks great hanging on the wall.

little logs frame

I have so many of the little quilt and block patterns from Lori at From my heart to your hands and think it would look great to have a little gallery wall of these mounted on canvas.

Head over to Patchwork Times to see other design wall projects.

Another Little Project

There was a kit for this log cabin project in the scrap box I sorted earlier in the week.  I’m sure it ended up in there because the blocks are paper pieced.  I loathe paper piecing but have a plan for this quilt so I forced myself to do it.  It took four hours to make four little four-inch blocks!  I’m pretty sure I’ve pieced twin-sized quilts in less time! 

4 little logs

Now the BIG decision will be how to set them together and then add the border.  At least that part won’t take long!

Small Projects

Almost the only thing I ever sew is quilts, and most of my quilts are lap size or larger.  I have friends who do teeny, tiny things and I always admire them but think “I could make a full-size quilt in the time it would take me to make that putzy little table runner.”  Plus, I need to use stash—lots of stash, not little 1/2 yard amounts!!

However, when I was going through that box of scraps recently, I came across a couple of little kits.  My friend, Gill, is Queen of Little Projects and she runs retreats where she give participants fun little kits.  In my box I found the kit for this cute little pincushion.

ruler pincushion

It took maybe five minutes to make it and it’s the perfect shape to go over the arm of the chair when I’m sewing bindings.

pincushion stage

The kit for this little Dresden table mat was also in the box.

dresden

I probably finished it in less than an hour and it is ideal for this candle.  I’m glad I found it (and made it!) in the fall so I could use it right away.

dresden stage

These were both fun and easy to do so I may have to make a little project every now and then.

Check out the links at Patchwork Times to see lots of great projects, big and small!

DWM: Little Trips from the Scrap Bag

One thing is for sure; once you start digging through the scrap bag, it’s hard to stop.  The Little Trips pattern from Glad Creations is perfect for 2” strips. 

67981220657277x800_littletripsusanjpg

I love their designs and patterns.  The quilts always look more complicated than they really are and most of them have a pieced border.  The patterns are well written and include pressing directions so all the seams nest.  In this particular pattern, the blocks are strip pieced.  Since I’m using lots of scraps, I’m piecing the blocks one by one.  I thought it would take longer but once I got started the blocks went together pretty quickly.  The hardest part is selecting four matching fabrics that have enough contrast to see the “little trips.”  After working with so many 2-1/2” strips, the 2” strips look so small!  I love how the smaller pieces look though.  So far, I’ve made two blocks but have enough strips cut to make 200! 

Little Trips blocks

Be sure to check out other inspiring Design Wall projects at Patchwork Times.

  • Black Cat Crossing Blog Hop

  • See You In September Blog Hop

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