Tuesday, June 9, 2020

updated favorite quilting tools

I was recently at a quilt retreat, and a newcomer asked us each to share what our favorite quilting tool was.  I had to think about it.  Of course, I didn't have just 1.  Here's my list:

You've probably all seen these magnetic pin bowls in the quilt stores.  Anything magnetic will work, but it might as well be cute.  I rarely use pins, but when I am using them, a magnetic bowl comes in handy.  These past few months, I've made almost 500 masks for Covid19.  And I did pin, and this bowl sure came in handy.  

Somewhere along the way, I got into a habit of using tags.  I start and stop sewing with them.  I don't get those birds nests on the back of my fabric when I start sewing.  My rule is to trim at the tag, and leave the tail of thread on what I'm sewing.  This post better explains how and why I use tags.
It's just a personal preference of mine.

I love Aurifil thread.  We are good friends.  We like each other.  And so does my machine.  So, we don't go looking anywhere else.  It is made with long strands, so the lint is minimal in my machines.  

I love this light gray for sewing a quilt top together (notice the shade above).  It blends well with all colors.  

I use these quilting rag sheers when I'm cutting strips on a raggy binding.  It's much faster, and easier on the hands.  Here is a post about raggy bindings.  and another post about rag sheers.

Singer Feather Weight.  This machine is my traveling buddy.  It goes to retreats, on trips, mostly when ever I need to transport a machine.  It's easy for other people to use if someone needs a machine.  It's light weight and travels well, unless you are going into a foreign country, which is not recommended (from experience!!)  This is also my back-up machine when my regular Pfaff is getting a check up. 
**NOTE-  I do not recommend changing machines in the middle of a quilt.  Your seam allowances will be off .   

 lint roller - use to clean off those little strings on your ironing board, design boards, your clothes, the floor around you if you're too lazy to go get the vacuum . . . the list goes on and on.

I free-motion quilt all my quilts on my sweet sixteen and I've tried most everything to help grip my quilt as I'm quilting.  These quilting tips seem to grip the best.  I use them on both hands, just those 3 fingers.

I have also tried numerous products to keep my rulers from slipping while quilting.  This product works well.  Simply paint it onto the back of your rulers and they don't slide as easily.

I love a little squirt of canned air into my bobbin housing unit each time I change my bobbin, as well as into the bobbin.  Some of my friends tried this and it messed up their machine, so be careful.  It works great on a Pfaff.

A simple thread cutter for cutting chained pieces is helpful.  Children or grandchildren love to help with this part.

(If you're over the age of 50), you may need a little extra help with ripping seams out.  This nifty tool is called Mighty Bright.  It's a seam ripper with a magnifying glass (which has a light) attached.  

I'd love to hear about your favorite tool.

scrappy strip quilt

The crumb quilt project was a great scrap buster.  I got 2 quilts out of that project.

But for some reason, after all the mess all over my sewing room, and working several months on those crumb quilts, I still had a huge pile of scraps!!  

They just seemed to multiply!!!

So I decided to try scrap strips instead to see if I could lesson my scrap mountain.  I put my scraps into piles strips that were about the same length.  

I had 6 or 7 piles of different lengths.  I pulled two from the first pile (let's say they were 5 inch strips), and sewed them together, then without cutting strings, I sewed 2 together from the next pile (lets say they were 7 inch strips), and on down through all the piles. 

When I had sewn 2 together from each pile, I started back at the top.  I picked one from the 5 inch pile and sewed that to the existing 5 inch strip, without cutting strings. 

I kept my nice big scissors near by, there was a lot of chopping at the machine.

This was a donation quilt.  So, I used a sheet for the back, and wrapped it around for the binding.  I was careful to start and stop my quilting just 1 time because when you're carrying the backing around to the front, you can't just go running off the edge when you're quilting.  

Do you have a good way to get rid of scraps?  I'd love to hear your ideas.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

hamstring nature postage quilt

 I wanted to make a quilt with the colors of nature.  I went to my pictures of Alaska.  I’ve visited several regions, with a variety of landscapes.  Some snowed upon, some not.
The vast waters mirrored endless images and colors of the land and sky.

Sunrises are spectacular.

endlessness . . . . . 

I started this quilt while in San Miguel de Allende for a month, escaping the Texas summer here.  San Miguel is a charming colonial-era city in Mexico's central highlands . . .  and my favorite place to visit in Mexico.

On the quaint cobblestone streets, you can find a variety of bustling markets, with vendors selling their handmade wares.  The city is known for it's thriving arts scene and cultural events.  

 I set up my work station with my Singer Featherweight on this gorgeous dinning table in our colonial rental. . .

...  a delightful ironing station in the kitchen. . . so charming.

 I spent the mornings up on the veranda enjoying the colorful views, the filtered sun and aromatic breezes, with an occasional ringing of a church bell-tower.  

The afternoons brought cooling showers, giving everything a fresh cleaning, and the perfect time to sew.

This is actually a checker board design, but I like the words postage quilt so that's what it is :)

My original plan was a match-stick pattern through-out, in one direction.  Silly me, I didn't realize that match-stick quilting in one direction through out would shrink down to a long skinny quilt. 

I started staggering the tight lines and added lines going the opposite direction until it was the shape that I was looking for.  

quilt stats

aprox size  63x80, washed

batting - Winline 100% Bamboo, 6 oz. (a heavier weight for colder climates), renewable, breathable, durable fibers with anti-bacterial properties.

quilt - postage pattern (check board pattern, actually)

fabrics - various textured Konas, wovens and linen essex, depicting the colors of nature

quilting pattern -staggering tight and loose straight lines

thread - Aurifil 2890

On the back, I quilted the last line of a metta (positive energy and kindness towards others) practice:

"... and may you live with an unguarded heart"