Thursday, April 30, 2009

Books and Quilts and Stuff.

I'm free-motion quilting Luke's quilt and having so much fun with it.

I have to admit that when I started it yesterday I thought it was a horrible technique and that I'd never get the hang of it. But after an hour of quilting I was getting the hang of it and learning to think ahead so my design would flow fluidly. I really think free-motion quilting is good for preventing dementia because you have to think ahead so your design flows smoothly and doesn't have jagged starts and stops. Its not as easy as you might think!

After a while my stitches became much more even and the stippling is looking good.

There are still a few areas where you can see my indecision about where to go with the design, but I'm getting better at it. Honestly, I can't wait to get another quilt top done so I can do some more FMQ (free motion quilting). I can see that an extension table would be very helpful because a few times the quilt would start to drag and I'd have to rearrange it. I'm sure it would do the same thing even with an extension table, but I doubt it would happen as often. You'd also have more room for your left hand with an extension table. Anyway, FMQ is very cool and I'm glad I finally got around to trying it.

Now for a book recommendation....

Professional Sewing Techniques for Designers is an awesome, but pricey book. I am not a designer, nor do I intend to be, but the clothing construction techniques in this book are top notch and it lists all of them. I couldn't think of anything that was left out of this book and I'm seriously thinking I can get rid of my other clothing construction books. Well, all of them except for my next book recommendation. :)

Another book I think is great is:

The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction. Its a very inexpensive book and is really a "classroom in a book" type of book. Its an old book, but I still love it. It clearly and easily guides you through projects, including aprons (I love aprons!), and that's what I love about it. It also guides you through pattern alterations (for sway back, big butt, no butt, big boobs, little boobs, etc...) which is really helpful. I've read some books on fitting and have come away believing that learning Russian would be easier than learning to fit clothes. But, this book wasn't like that for me. That's why I like it so much.

Have a wonderful Thursday!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Weekend Stuff.

Thanks for the nice comments about Elle and her crocheted hoodie. I think she's pretty cute, too! lol! And Sarah gets extra brownie points for saying Elle looks like me! Speaking of Sarah, I had the pleasure of meeting her for coffee on Saturday morning! A few weeks ago I won a fabric giveaway on her blog and since we live so close to one another we decided to meet for coffee. Here are the fabrics:

The sweater knit is more red than the picture shows. I'm excited to work with it since I've never sewn sweater knit before. Before I cut into it I have to read through the forums at Pattern Review to get some tips on how to sew it well. I love the other fabrics, too; especially the plaid. That will make cute pants or jumpers for my girls.

I also stitched this during the weekend:

It was a cross-stitch kit that I've had forever and finally got around to stitching it. I put it in the frame for the photo, but have to iron it before I put it in the frame permanently. I have no idea who to give it to, but it'll make a great Christmas gift for someone!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Elle In Her Crocheted Hoodie

I made this crocheted hoodie back in January and didn't really like it then.

I made it large thinking it would fit Elle by the spring....

Its still a bit too large, but I've changed my mind about it. Its pretty cute.

Or maybe its the girl wearing it.

My Sewing Room...

Its still a bit cluttered because I am DROWNING IN FABRIC AND YARN (notice I won't show you my "fabric wall"?!), but the bones of my sewing room are done and I'm so happy with it. Its a small space, so I made an island table out of our old kitchen table. Underneath are stackable organizer cabinets/shelves from Target. My serger is on the table along with the ironing just didn't make it into the photo. I'm still organizing and trying to use up my stash, so I may have more photos in the near future. At least now I can walk around my sewing room; before I moved things around I had a too-large table in there and I literally couldn't walk freely in the room. I was always hopping over stuff. That's definitely not a good thing! Clutter always stifles my creative moods.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thread Really Does Matter

I got my Sapphire sewing machine back from the shop. This time I took it to a man who works on them right there in his shop (he's an authorized Viking repair person) and he taught me a lot about thread today. Shortly after I got my Sapphire I started using machine quilting thread for my machine quilting. I thought it would be great stuff...I mean, its made for machine quilting so it must be perfect for that purpose, right? The repairman, John at B&J Sewing Center, told me that its too thick for sewing machines and that its coated and the coating tends to gunk up the bobbin case and mess up the tension. Same thing with topstitching thread. Who knew? I sure didn't. So I'm back to using plain 'ole 100% cotton thread for my quilting and either mercerized cotton or polyester for piecing and garment construction.

The author of another blog I read, Melissa at Fehr Trade, also says topstitching thread is too thick for most machines and to instead use Gutterman Extra Strong thread for topstitching. Looks like that's what I'll be doing. Maybe I'll try using it for machine quilting, too. I like the look of a thicker thread in my quilts. That's why I prefer to hand quilt; hand quilting thread is nice and thick. I just don't like how long it takes to hand quilt and I thought by using machine quilting thread I could get the look I like with my machine.

Looks like I'll be using the rest of my machine quilting thread for basting!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I'm Still Alive

Thank you to those who emailed me asking where I've been. I'm still alive and everything's ok! :) There's a lot going on around here, so I've been busy (scattered, really).

I'm redoing my sewing room, so there hasn't been much sewing lately. Also, my Sapphire 870Q is back in the shop. If it doesn't come back in pristine condition it's going on eBay. Seriously. Or Craigslist. Or maybe I'll toss it out the 2nd floor window along with a watermelon. That might be fun.

Tomorrow I'm going to the 'burbs to check out a vintage sewing machine for $25. Its a Necchi in a cabinet. It looks really nice, so as long as it sews well its coming home with me. I'm getting rid of my current sewing table since its crappy. I can't wait to show you photos of my new room. When I was into bookbinding, papermaking and letterpress printing I bought this old, huge, heavy table from an auction and used it for years. When we moved to the city I had to put it in storage. I had completely forgotten about it until I decided to clear out the storage shed; its perfect for a cutting/sewing table. Is anyone interested in letterpress printing presses? I have 2 you can have if you come and get them. They've got surface rust now and I don't know if the motors still work, but if you want 'em, they're yours. They're both C&P's. I also have a huge Challenge cast iron guillotine you can have. You'll need a forklift, though. I'd love to keep them because I really love to do letterpress printing, but I have no room for them here. They'll be scrapped if no one wants them. Its a shame since they don't make them anymore, but what can I do?

So, that's all I have for now. Oh, I might have a JOB. Yes. I'm pretty excited because its a good one. I won't know until the end of the month, so I'll keep it under wraps for now. But, wish me luck!


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