Monday, August 6, 2018

August Elm Street Quilts OMG: One Step Forward

It seems like the piles on my cutting table are multiplying.  I should be making progress on cleaning it off so I can use it for cutting instead of sorting fabrics for quilts and other projects but I keep getting distracted and instead of organizing, I sew or quilt instead and pull more fabrics out of boxes, adding to the disarray.  Of course, buying more fabric doesn't help either. 

Two small projects for the month would subtract from some of the mess on the cutting table.  If I make binding for the quilt I just took off the quilting machine and the pillowcase that goes with the quilt I made my newest grandson, I can put some extra fabric away.

There is a diagonal print stripe that will make great binding for the Yellow Brick Road below.
Elm Street Quilts August OMG:  Make Binding
And there is surplus of the scattered bunny fabric in the last border of this quilt for the pillowcase.  I promised a pillowcase would appear sometime in the future.
I hope to accomplish more but my sister has doctor appointments, our niece's maid of honor is staying with us the week of the wedding, we have missionary friends dropping by the same weekend, and at the end of the month, it would be nice to take a day trip down to Silverton and Mt. Angel to see the sights.  

Thursday, July 26, 2018

July is a Productive Month

While I ignored the challenges of the quilt top in the previous post, the youngest of the 2 grands and I tie dyed.  Well really, the 6 year old was the only one that really had any interest.  Our efforts were rewarded and he was very pleased with the results.  So was mom.  We dyed some flour sack dishtowels for her.  The three basic colors in the Dharma kit were very bright and attractive.  I will order them the next time I plan a tie dye event.

The week before I completed a patchwork skirt.  While it is not exactly as I envisioned, DH likes it and that is a huge plus.
Rafiki Skirt Pattern from Craftsy

The skirt goes well with a recent bracelet I made. 
Now to complete a necklace. 

From all appearances, some think I have returned to my hippie days.

Elm Street Quilts July OMG Finish: Waves. . .

It has been said:  "Life is a series of waves to be embraced and overcome."  Some longarm quilters would say to embrace the challenge of this quilt top.  The wavy borders are not that bad; some quilters have taken on far worse.  Proof exists on YouTube as they demonstrate their prowess with their longarm using varying techniques to conquer the waves.
Elm Street Quilts July OMG Finish

Two weeks ago, I was planning to take the borders off and use a different sewing machine to stitch them on again.  I am convinced it was having the Pfaff's dual feed engaged that caused this problem because the previous quilt with all bias edges was completed with the Janome 9400 without the AccuFeed foot attached and the borders went on flawlessly with no issues or challenges for me to conquer.

My fear of the challenge has diminished and the thrill of conquest is building.  Stay tuned to see if I rise to the occasion or cave in and retreat to my favorite chair to remove the offensive borders.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Little Labels

All quilts deserve a label and all quilters should sign their work.  With those two directives in mind, I finally ordered some small labels for my charity quilts and small projects.  All special quilts will still show off a label made with my embroidery machine. 

The labels are from a company called Wunderlabel.  They have a US office in Springfield, Illinois.  I was pleased with the price, service, and quality.  They are easy to pierce with a needle so I had no trouble taking tiny stitches to secure them.    

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Elm Street July OMG: Properly Aged

With the addition of three borders by the end of July, this top will be an Elm Street Quilts finish.
Yesterday afternoon, I pulled these blocks out of a cupboard in the sewing room and squared up the remaining 16.  I know why I left them to age for a few years.  They refused to square up so that the seams would match.  Additionally, I was having a terrible time getting a layout that pleased me, but the time had come to finish this quilt top.

The only seams that match reasonably are the large block intersections but with the lattice or love knot layout that emerged when I discovered that I sewed all of the strip sets with with light to dark repeat, precise intersections just weren't worth pursuing.  With a few twists and turns that didn't match the pattern designer's scrappy layout, I found one that satisfied me.  Now to find some batiks to complete the borders so the top is in the stack to be quilted.  Finished is better than perfect.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Clip Things

A few years ago, there was a chain fabric store in our neighborhood that had a great sale on those little red clips by Clover.  I bought some and liked them but didn't have enough to go around a quilt.  Someone pointed out that the very same clips were available on ebay and Amazon for a great savings.  I bought this cute little tin of generic clips and now have enough to go around a quilt to hold the binding in place when I machine stitch the binding.

Some have said the clips are difficult to pick up and pinch open.  My recommendation is to line them up on the edge of a little basket like the Lazy Girl Button Boats.  The are much easier to grasp and pinch when sitting upright.

Another product that is saving me much time and hassle are the Clip-n-Seal Mondo 10 Pack Bag Clips.  These are the same thing as the Red Snappers longarm quilters use for attaching quilt backings to leaders on roller bars but cost about half as much.  They are a faster and safer alternative to using long corsage pins to secure the backing fabric to the heavy canvas leaders.

I originally purchased a similar brand of bag clips in shorter lengths and fun bright colors but when they became more flexible with use, they didn't hold the backing securely.  They are still useful when positioning the quilt backing to hold it in place until I swap them out with the longer and stronger version (and as designed for keeping bags securely sealed).  Also, I made side clips to replace the heavy clamps that keep the edges of the backing from sagging that are just like the Leader Grips side clips

Check Joey's blog entry for a link to the Mondo 10 Pack because she kindly answered my questions and she gets credit for referrals if you purchase.

June Elm Street Quilts OMG Finish: 3 in 1

June was a good month for binding quilts.  Don't ask me why because usually the winter months are best for curling up in my chair with a quilt on my lap and a few movies or a good audio book to entertain me while stitching away. 

Here are the quilts in order of completion.  The first is my June Elm Street Quilts OMG finish:
The flowers peeking out here and there remind me of my neighbor's passion flower vine.  We love the beautiful flowers but the roots of the plant are invasive and the plant came up in her garage and other unlikely places.

The second quilt to the finish line was a long time in the queue.  I started this quilt in Walla Walla and it was waiting for me to do the borders when we decided to pack up the HandiQuilter for our great move to the WE(s)T side of the state.  It was my intent to freehand vining flowers and leaves in the last border but instead the borders offered an opportunity to practice placing computerized patterns.  For a first try, I am satisfied even though the program with my new machine doesn't self correct if the borders are not totally straight.  But if I had tried the same pattern freehand in the first and second borders, they wouldn't be any better and maybe worse.  My freehanding skills are limited to a few meandering E2E designs.  This one has loops, leaves, and flowers that were inspired by the fabric prints.

The back of the quilt was
a collection of fabrics in the same colors from my stash.

The last quilt is a favorite of mine and I have enough strips to make a second quilt from the remaining rainbow of strips in a moire print jelly roll:

This quilt is a Cozy Quilts pattern.  The piecing method looks time consuming and tedious but only involves making strips sets of a colorful fabric framed by a white and black strip.  For the first time since I started making quilts in the '70's, I chose to cut continuous borders.  The rainbow batik in the outside border just didn't look as nice pieced so not only do I have the other half of the jelly roll left but I have just enough for the borders and binding, too. 

But don't get me wrong, batiks don't offer much give so don't even consider cutting the binding on the lengthwise grain.  I don't recommend it for another important reason.  The strongest threads run lengthwise and the weakest are crosswise.  A lengthwise fold will cut across the weakest threads and they will more easily fray.  The longest wearing binding is bias cut and with a stripe that runs lenghtwise or crosswise on the fabric, it definitely adds a special finishing touch. 

The binding for June OMG was quickly cut on the bias using a GO cutter.  Just 17 inches of fabric and a simple folding technique produced just the right amount of strips.