Kittens! And Hello…

So nothing really since May.  How dissapointing.  My life has gotten pretty good.  Work is crazy, crazy, crazy busy.  But I have a job I like.  What a difference that makes.  I would love some more down time, for sure.  But there are worse things.  Lots of down time and a soul-sucking job.  Very little down time and a soul-sucking job.  So on the balance, not too bad.

Enough about that, QUILTS!  I have not been sewing enough.  My goal is to finish three quilts this weekend, that would give me lots to write about.  So, onward.

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These little kitten faces are part of a quilt I made for a charity quilt auction for the local humane society.  I used Oh Frannson!’s pattern (with her permission).  I loved making the kittens because it was all straight-forward piecing, easy square triangles.

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I backed the quilt with a fun mix tape pattern – to round out the 80s color scheme/feel.  And I used a black/white stripe binding.

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I did free-motion matchstick quilting.  Really, truly loved the texture it gave the quilt – although I am not sure how to do it without distorting/pulling the fabric.

The quilt sold for a decent amount at the auction.  So yay!  🙂

I Free Motioned!

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So my new Juki meant my ability to free motion quilt without crying.  I just could never do it on my old machine.  It made me very sad and frustrated and jealous of those who could.  I practiced a few nights free-motioning.

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Being a not so good drawer, I am not that good at free motion.  My stipple still looks like “creepy fingers” (to borrow a phrase from Elizabeth Dackson).  But I was ok at the wood-grain pattern.

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And so I made a simple table runner and gave it a whirl.  SO. MUCH. FUN.  So, so far from perfect.

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But good enough that I didn’t get sad – and felt like improvement was possible.

I am not quite ready to try anything bigger – still the world of sad straight-line quilting for me there.  But there is a tunnel and there is light.  Woot.

Finish: A napping quilt

IMG_2075I have had the top done on this quilt since this summer.  I kept waiting for enough money to send it off for quilting.  And then I realized that there were much bigger priorities for our money, and decided to power through finishing this one.

DH helped me baste.  Which was very challenging because we don’t have a hard surface big enough for anything over 60×60.  And so there is a minor error in the quilting because of a basting problem (a small section of blocks form an hour glass rather than a rectangle).

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This was the first thing I did on my new Juki, using the walking foot.  I don’t like the walking foot.  It is LOUD and the only real problem with my new machine.  I now know that the standard foot is enough pull for the thin batting I use.

One thing I was not dissapointed in the ease of was the binding.  This is the first thing I have machine bound that I have kept for myself, and I love how good it looks being done by the JUKI.  Just stellar.  I used a lot of a fairly ugly denim looking quilting cotton that I had A LOT of- worked out ok – looks good as the binding for this casual quilt.  And I backed it with the wide Carolyn Friedlander hatch pattern.  Again, perfectly casual

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I was dissapointed with this quilt when I first finished it… but now I am falling in love with it.  It is soft and warm and friendly and big.  The sort of quilt you reach for again and again and again for naps and cuddling.

This weekend I finally stole a few moments to get some pictures.  I love this quilt for its imperfections now.  And am glad I have added it to the list of finished-it-myself quilts.

It’s not me, it’s you

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I have a new sewing machine. And it is absolutely sublime. Truly. The most notable thing is the “pull”. I had no idea what a difference that made in my stitch length consistency. Really, truly, I don’t suck. I just had a small, not-so-powerful sewing machine. What a relief.

I have just scratched the surface of playing with free-motion quilting. I honestly thought that I just would never be able to do anything other than straight-line quilting with jilty stitches. But now there is hope. I practiced a lot this weekend – and I am amazed at how much better I got in a fairly short amount of time. My stitches are looking even and the back of the quilt sandwich isn’t completely humiliating.

I have not seen the benefit of improving my piecing accuracy yet. Still working on that perfect scant 1/4 inch. But that is the easy stuff, it’ll get there.

The walking foot is horrible. Loud and tetchy. Despite that, my stitch quality still was better than before. But a bit dissapointing. And then I machine-finished the binding on a BIG quilt I made and discovered that I really don’t need a walking foot because of the awesome pull of the machine. My stitches on the binding were blisfully straight with my (thin) batting and four layers of fabric.  My mom has an awesome Singer, and she said that she typically doesn’t need to use the walking foot when she quilts on her machine.  I was completely puzzled.  Sometimes I became so desperate with my machine I thought of using the walking foot when just piecing.

I am back at work and away from my machine today, which makes me a bit sad. But it will be there when I get home. And I am relieved to know that my seeming forever-stuck-in-beginner status of finishing my quilts had as much to do with my machine as it did with me.  My little machine is safely stored close by so that I can pull it out for zig zag stitching… and… uh… I’m sure I’ll think of something else.

For a complete and charming review of the sewing machine I bought, see here. It convinced me.