February 2017

Free Motion Quilting Madness

 by thequiltingpatch on 08 Feb 2017 |
7 Comment(s)
My friend Rach is kind of excited that Im blogging. She eggs me on, saying " thats the sort of thing you should put on your blog!" " People want to know about you and the stuff you do" If you havent worked it out, Im a reluctant blogger. Its not that I dont have stuff to yak about, but where would I begin...or stop.  So Im going to begin right where Im at now., and I guess youll get to know my beginnings along the way.  One of the exciting things Im doing right now is converting an old industrial sewing machine into a free motion quilting sit down machine.  I bought the machine off eBay a few years back with the intention of sewing school uniforms for my kids' school. That happenend for a while. Then I got too busy in the shop to keep it up, and since then my Singer has had nothing to sing about.  I've been looking at it thinking "I must sell that" - it takes up too much room and really isnt earning its keep. So when I sat at it a week back, I thought Id run some fabric through it and get the tensions nice, just in case I mustered up the energy to list it on eBay or Gumtree.  Something pinged in my head at that point. "Without feed dogs this thing would free motion." I think it was my dad's voice I heard. My dad worked for Leon Cutler from 1949 to 1952. Leon Cutler was a Sydney based fashion designer who made ready to wear clothing for women entering the workforce. They made stylish blouses, skirts and suits. Dad was his cutter at the ripe old age of 19, and by 22 was his executive manager, pretty much overseeing his factory.    Photo courtesy of Tom McEvoy  House of Darlington  More than once he told me if they had specialised jobs he would go around and remove all the feed dogs of the machines. Funny the info you retain!! Ok so that was the feed dogs out. Then I had a little dig around in the drawer for a darning foot. I think dad said they never used a foot?? Not sure I could fmq without one.  No luck in the drawer - these old industrials only come with a couple of feet! HA!   Another lightbulb moment. The Westalee Ruler toe foot is just a screw on adjustable contraption. And so is my Janome adjustable foot. And guess what - they both worked. So now I have the capacity to have both an open toe and a ruler foot for ruler work.    Westalee Ruler Toe Foot - its the high special size, designed for the semi industrials like the Juki, Pfaff Grand Quilter, ( and my Husqvarna Mega Quilter. ) Convertible Free-Motion Quilting Foot Set #767433004 For Janome 1600P Series,( and my Husqvarna Mega Quilter) The ladies who have attended my fmq classes will attest to the merits of a slippery mat under your work and some of them have been using BBQ mats. These are usually used to keep your BQQ clean and are much cheaper than the purpose made fmq mats. So off I went to Bunnings... a little hole punch for the needle and some masking tape later, et voila! Here is my costing...  Second hand Industrial machine                 $300 Westalee Ruler toe foot ( High Special)         $55 Janome Free motion foot set                       $80 Non stick BBQ mat                                     $ 9.95 Total price of set up $ 444.95. Thats a VERY cheap FMQ set up.  I know it will take me 6 months to get to know its tension idiosyncrasies. Right now its behaving itself with Rasant and Signature threads. When Im feeling brave and patient Ill play with some other thinner threads, but for now thats a win.   
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The Storytellers Sampler Quilt - the Joy of Fussycutting

by thequiltingpatch on 20 Jan 2020
The story so far... Local quilter Cinzia White publishes an amazing book, The Storytellers Sampler Quilt. Eppiflex templates launches a Block of The Month called Telling Tales, featuring 60 upsized blocks from the book and I start sewing up blocks. Cinzia asks me to contribute to her quiltalong using blocks from the aforementioned book. I fall down the rabbithole of fussycutting. But let's talk about what this is really about... Addicted to sewing...addicted to fabric...addicted to starting new projects... and now addicted to fussycutting.  So what's the hype about fussycutting?  If you are already a creative soul and enjoying making pretty blocks by joining shapes together, fussy cutting is some next level crafty action. Do you remember those kaliedoscope toys we had as kids. I have no idea how they worked, they were just MAGIC. Who could get bored with the amazing patterns they made as you twisted and turned them. I was fascinated with them.                   "No you cant have a go yet, Im not finished" - I wasnt a good sharer being the youngest and most spoilt of my siblings. Ask my sister, she will back me up.  So fussycutting a beautiful fabric into an even more beautiful fabric block is a bit like making magic for me. Mirrors? Yeah nah. I know some people swear by them, but I don't want to know what it's going to look like. Why spoil the magic? That's like someone showing you a picture of the next kaliedoscope before you can twist the tube. Just let the magic happen. Embrace the unknown a little.  Waste of fabric?  This is what Cinzia says to me... but let's be honest we all have enough fabric to be a bit less frugal with it. I think quilters are the quintessential horders. Why else would we have so many memes about collecting fabric. Even the term stash says it all.  In fact in the current economic climate of a massive downturn in retail spending I think we all have a responsibilty to fussy cut more and support the shops before they disappear altogether.  So my little contribution to Cinzia's Quiltalong is "Blackberry Freedom" and it is English paper pieced. Thanks Cinzia for asking me to join in and for writing such a sensational book.  

2019 Block of the Month - Borders and Construction

by thequiltingpatch on 24 Dec 2019
If you've made it this far, you have sewn all your 12 flower blocks and the sun compass and are wondering whats next.. Here is where we are going to work with what you have, and not with what you should have according to this pattern. We are going off road! And let me explain why.. First of all, there's colour and fabric choice.. if you lay out your blocks exactly as the pattern above, it may not be the best layout your quilt could have. For instance when I laid my blocks out exactly as the quilt pattern, I ended up with 4 blocks of red flowers in a row. There was a real clump of red in one section and it looked aweful. So I've moved my 4 red blocks, placing one in each corner. I then took my 3 blue blocks and evenly spread them around, and so on.  It might take you a while to decide where your blocks are going. Take some photos with your phone along the way so you can decide on your final layout. Looking through you phone makes it easier for you to spot the "clumps" of colour or tone. Lets talk about how this medallion quilt is going to come together.  First of all we have our centre block - our sun compass. It's going to have a thin floral frame.  This is surrounded by a floral block border - these are the 12 floral blocks that you made. First we will attach two side border sections, made from 4 of our floral blocks. Next we will attach the top and bottom border sections made from our remaining 8 floral blocks. The pieced border is a border that features the scrappy floral prints we have used to frame our flower blocks. The last border is a plain border which is cut 3 1/4" wide Last is the binding - cut at 2 1/2" wide To frame the sun compass, cut your 4 frames 1 3/8" x 20 1/2" ( or whatever your compass square measures - mine was 20" so believe me there is wiggle room)  Cut 4 corner stones in the background fabric 1 3/8" Attach two squares to either end of two of your frames. Sew the first two plain frames to the sides of your compass centre Now add the frames with the cornerstones attached to the top and bottom of the sun compass Its now time to attach the side floral blocks to the framed sun compass. Make sure you pin the seam intersections so that your frames on your sun compass line up with the frames on your floral blocks.  The next step is to attach the top and bottom floral block rows, again making sure the seams line up by pinning them first.  The last bit of piecing from this quilt will be the pieced border. We are going to strip piece it, unless you are working with scraps and can't cut strips in any great length to strip piece.  If you are not familiar with strip piecing, check out my blog post from last year, in particular the first set of photos where I explain cutting and sewing the strips and then crosscutting them.  Your strips will be cut 2 1/8" wide. Sew one background fabric strip to a floral strip. Press well. Then crosscut this strip set to 3 1/4".  Join the sections of 3 1/4" together, topping and tailing them so that the fabric prints create a checkerboard pattern.  Each border has 16 units making up the checkerboard. You will need 64 units to make enough for the quilt.  Make and sew your border units together. Measure the length of these border units. Now cut 4 strips in the background fabric that is 3 3/4" wide x the length measured above. Sew these strips to each border unit.  ( ignore the seams in the picture below - your plain strip is cut in one length)  Now we need to make the 4 corner units. Once finished you will will attach two corner units to either end of 2 of your border units.  The corner unit consists of a four patch bordered on two sides by a mitred edge.  The four patch section consist of squares cut 2 1/8". The mitred edges are strips cut 3 3/4" x 7 3/8" and then trimmed on one edge at 45 degrees.     To sew this corner unit together, first make the four patch sections. Then pin and sew one mitred border from the straight side edge to the corner, stopping 1/4" short of the angled edge. Press.    Pin your second mitred border piece to the adjacent edge Beginning at the straight edge, sew towards the mitre, stop at the 1/4", lift the machine foot keeping the machine needle down to hold the fabric in place. Align the two pointy corner pieces and the mitred edge. Lower the foot and continue sewing to the end of the seam.     Your corner section seams should align with your border section seams. Attach two corner sections to the end of two pieced borders as below. You are now ready to attach the first two borders to the side edges of your quilt (the two without the corners attached.) Make sure you pin the borders and then sew. Press the quilt and then attach the second two borders (with the corners attached) again pinning first to align seams.  Phew!!! Nearly there!! The last border is a plain background border cut at 3 1/4", so it's time to press and measure your quilt, so you'll be able to cut the first two strips to the correct size. I would suggest measuring the quilt through the centre and cutting those 3 1/4" strips to this length, as a last effort in squaring up the quilt. Once you have the first two strips cut you can sew them on and press them. Repeat this step cutting the last two border strips to size before pinning and sewing them on.  Congratulations... if you are here with me now, you have a finished quilt top!! I hope you have enjoyed this years' challenging quilt - I think it is quite stunning and a credit to your sewing skills.  Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Have a safe and relaxing holiday season.  Much love Danni xx
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