I pulled out a not-so-old UFO this week to finish up. Remember this one, from Angela Pingel’s book A Quilter’s Mixology? It was set aside while I was finishing up some other deadlines and now it’s back at the machine.
I knew from the start that I wanted to do straight line quilting. Sort of a tedious process though. I am halfway done and hope to finish today. There’s this little feature on the Bernina 750QE that I am loving. I can have a short attention span when it comes to straight line quilting. I never want to turn the machine off after I’ve set up all the stitch length, tension and pressure foot settings just how I like them for a current quilting project. This machine has a button that puts it into “Eco Mode”.
It’s like putting the machine to sleep or power save, but when you press the button again – magic! – you are just where you left off. This is definitely one of those features that I never thought I would need, but I find myself using constantly. And now, to push that handy little button and get back to work.
October 23, 2014 22 Comments
With the kids in school, it’s been a remarkably productive couple of days over here. The house is clean, dinner has been planned ahead each night, I’ve actually gone to the gym (shocking!!) and I’ve even spent busy chunks of time in my sewing room.
This week I also received a great package in the mail. Last week I ordered Moda Fabric’s Modern Building Blocks pattern and kit. I remember seeing this quilt at market and it was one of those stop-you-in-your-tracks moments for me. I love Moda’s Bella Solids and the colors in this quilt, along with the layout of the blocks, really spoke to me. I cannot wait to make this (even if it will have to wait in line a bit until I’m done with other commitments).
Also, I love the packaging of this kit. I was joking on Instagram that whoever came up with it deserves a promotion! Wouldn’t this make a beautiful birthday or Christmas gift for a quilter? (Husbands…hint hint!)
The inside has all the fabrics, layout and assembly directions, as well as this handy set of double sided cards with all the block patterns.
You can buy this kit at a few of my sponsors:
The Loopy Ewe (fabric kit with pattern)
Fat Quarter Shop (fabric kit with pattern)
Fat Quarter Shop (fabric kit with pattern – PREORDER if link above sold out)
Fat Quarter Shop (pattern only, no fabric)
So, besides drooling over this kit for the last few days, I’ve also been working on my sadly neglected Arkansas Traveler quilt! I basted it yesterday while watching Call the Midwife on Netflix. Wow, what a great show (even if it does make me cry at every episode!).
I started quilting in the blue fabric areas using a coordinating blue thread I had on hand – Aurifil’s Color Me Happy by V & Co’s set. It’s #2775 in a 50wt (orange spool). I’m still debating whether or not to quilt the cream fabrics (with an off white thread) or leave them unquilted, giving it a slightly poofy look.
I’m using my Bernina Stitch Regulator (BSR) which I just realized I’ve been using for 5 years! Obviously I’ve had a lot of time to practice with it. I’ve had some people ask for tips on using it.
• I don’t go too slow or too fast. I try to find a nice, middle of the road speed and stick to it. It might help to get some music (not too crazy now!) with a consistent rhythm and play that while you sew, to get in a nice groove.
• I use Bernina’s single hole stitch plate when stitching straight lines.
• For a while I found that when I was stopping stitching (like to remove a pin), I was taking my foot off the pedal while still moving the fabric slightly. Not good, this leads to messed up stitches. Stop completely before taking your foot off the pedal. When you stop moving the fabric, the stitching will stop as well. (At least does when I use BSR 2).
• If you are feeling like your fabric is getting stuck and you have to pull it (leading to messed up stitches), lessen your pressure foot setting. I’ve had to do this with some fabrics that just didn’t seem to slide well under my foot. Other’s swear by using something called the Supreme Slider on their machine. I don’t have one though.
• And then just practice, practice, practice. When I first sat down to use the BSR I thought I would turn my machine on and suddenly my quilting would be perfect. Um, it wasn’t. lol I needed to still practice. If you still aren’t getting the results you think you should be getting, ask if you can bring your machine into your dealer and have them watch you quilt on your machine. I’m sure they will have tips as well.
I’m halfway finished with the blue and about to go upstairs and get cracking again. I can’t wait to (finally!) share this completed quilt with you soon!
August 27, 2014 30 Comments
As promised, today I’m sharing my latest quilt finish, Spectrum. Several months ago, the folks at Robert Kaufman Fabrics asked me if I was interested in creating a pattern using their Kona solids. I have been sitting on this flying geese design for a bit, waiting for the right time to make the quilt. (Does anyone else do this?? I swear I have more quilt designs than I’ll ever be able to make!) I decided the Kona’s would be perfect for it.
The Spectrum quilt features flying geese in a variety of Kona colors: Valentine, Camellia, Carnation, Pink, Coral, Kumquat, Mango, Cheddar, Corn Yellow, Canary, Buttercup, Maize, Sour Apple, Pistachio, Pear, Honey Dew, Breakers, Pool, Bahama Blue, Aqua. The background happens to be one of my favorite neutrals, Kona Snow (I just bought a bolt of it!)
In this design, I took a classic quilting element (flying geese) and updated the design through use of negative space. By staggering the columns and leaving the tops and bottoms empty (piecing in the background fabric), a traditional concept now has a very modern feel.
I quilted this using a free motion meandering design. I tried out the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) on my Bernina 750QE for the first time. (I have used the BSR on my Bernina 440QE). It worked great! I put my pressure foot setting down to 0 and found that to be the easiest for smoothly moving the quilt around while stitching.
July 29, 2014 32 Comments
It seems I’m taking it a bit easy this summer (well, besides being chauffeur to my kids!), but I am happy to report I’ve finished a couple of pillows using the oh-so-cute Flutter fabric by Laura Gunn. Last time I shared this fabric, I mentioned I paired it with some of Laura’s Painter’s Canvas (which in case you are wondering, is quilting cotton, not actual canvas). She has a huge variety of colors but I selected a rainbow assortment.
I ended up adding piping to the butterfly pillow. I used a gray painters canvas I had on hand. I’m not exactly experienced with piping. I think the last time I made some was when I put together my Weekender. It turned out…ok. I know some people requested a tutorial and I’m sure there are much more experienced sources out there for that. I free motion quilted this pillow with some random loop-de-loops around the butterflies. I thought it gave a nice fluttering effect.
For my second pillow, I more or less fussy cut some little bugs out of the fabric. The different color bugs were all a bit different sizes, but I averaged them out to 2-1/4″ x 3-1/2″. I then cut an assortment of the Painter’s Canvas the same size and made a little rectangular patchwork design. I decided to quilt this one using decorative stitch 301 on my Bernina 750QE, using my usual 50 weight Aurifil thread in white.
I love that this machine does even wider stitches than my “old” Bernina (not really old). If your machine has decorative stitches and you haven’t checked them out, I encourage you to do that! I’ve done this same technique on another pillow, using my Bernina 440QE and was thrilled with how that turned out as well.
One feature I tried out on my new machine this time was the “Start-Stop” button. See that green glowing button above? When I was ready to stitch, I pushed that button and it took off sewing without me using the foot pedal. I simply guided the fabric a bit. This was a nice feature considering how many lines I was stitching and let’s face it – repetitive decorative lines can feel a bit monotonous at times.
The backs of the pillows are more of the Flutter fabric. I’ve given these to my daughter for her bedroom and they are already happily being used for her dolls.
June 30, 2014 8 Comments