Books quilts and sewing

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Archive for the tag “singer”

Flannel Binding

If I were to talk about one of the biggest obstacles that I’ve face since I started piecing quilts, top of my list is piecing and binding a flannel quilt.  It’s almost like sewing a Lycra skirt together I would imagine.  I am a “fair-weather” pinner and will always try to get away without pinning where I’m able, so long as the fabric I’m working with cooperates.

Flannel is one of my favorite fabrics to piece and wrap up in after a well-done job.  This is also one of the fabrics that needs the most pinning due to the stretchiness of the material.  To go a little into the woods with this topic, when I initially started quilting I wanted nothing more than to make a flannel quilt.  Off to the store I went to pick out some of the warmest, softest, and flannely flannel I could find.  I purchased much more fabric than was needed using the… “if it calls for a yard and a half why not buy four yards” guy mentality.

This of course saved me.  I knew something was off, and at first it was that I had indeed cut the wrong size on a couple of pieces.  Standing there trying to line the fabric up after I re-measured however I started to sew only to have the squares go all wonky on me once I tried to join them together.  This was my initialization into the world of flannel.

Lesson #1, pin… every… little… piece… to sew it together.  Then, pin each and every piece as they come together.  Use the steam and weight of the iron to flatten the material and set the seams, do not stretch the material while pressing.  Now I know there is someone out there that may be able to sew this without pinning using the proper tension and fabric selection on their sewing machine.  When I first started with my singer, I have a difficult time getting this correct.  Now that I have a husqvarna viking, it is a little easier, however I still have to ensure I have the machine set correctly.

I’ve posted before about how much I love to put satin blanket bindings on baby quilts, but I wanted these to have more of a homemade look to them.  People are finally getting vocal about what works for them on a flannel blanket and I’ve decided to go with the double-fold binding.  I’ll cut the fabric 2 1/2″ before folding rather than my normal 2 1/4″ wof.

Lesson #2, Don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone.  I’ll post the pics of these next week to show you how they turned out.

Until next time,

Keep Sewing!!

Patience and Anticipation

A funny thing happened last night that I was reticent to talk about without the approval of my spouse.  I asked her only because I am making fun of both of us, but didn’t want to offend her by including it in my post.  She of course approved of my using it because she’s fantastic.

I had to do some work from home last night and knew that I wouldn’t be able to do too much on the quilt that I’m finishing.  All of the blocks are together, all that’s needed is to piece the blocks together to make the panels and then sew the panels together.  Two of the panels are complete, but rather than have the expectations of finishing during the week, I’m trying to be realistic and have the patience to finish this weekend when I have more time.

After my work was completed and dinner was finished, we went back into the sewing room for the last hour of the night before we went to sleep to get a little sewing in…  After I’ve sewn my first strip to join two blocks together, I realize that I’ve sewn the strip on the wrong side of the block (with this pattern there is no way I could leave it in and make it work).  Now I have to say that on occasion this happens to me, but with this quilt… let’s just say that it is chronic.  It was at this point that Kay looking over at me and my “new” difficulties and makes fun.

Kay suggested that I give it up for the night and laughed a little at the continuing difficulty that I’ve had with this quilt.  Sewing blocks and strips to the wrong sides, forgetting to use the 1/4″ selection of the machine, and other trials I’ve faced while making this quilt.  I was thinking (you could actually see the gears move) of something pithy to reply to her when I looked down and saw that she was using the wrong sewing foot for what she was working on!!  What ensued at that point was nothing less than storm of cursing at our machines and the collective fate of our two quilts.

We could have given up at this point, but given our nature we hunkered down, brought out two seam rippers, and proceeded to “fix” our mistakes.  Rather than stopping afterwards, we completed what we had started before finally going to bed.  I had finished another panel, number three out of eight.  I realized though that I’m kind of enjoying the time that it’s taking to finish this quilt.  I happen to be making it for myself and think that as I use the finished quilt this Autumn, I will appreciate it that much more knowing as I do the time and patience I’ve had to have with it.  All of the effort I’ve put in leaves me feeling a great anticipation for what this quilt will be when it grows up.

The Bobbin Surprise

Among the things that give me pause while quilting is the sewing machine bobbin. It’s the red-headed step-child of the sewing machine.  It is busily doing all of these wonderful things behind the scenes and rarely (did I say rarely?) complaining. As much as I remember to check my top thread, I’m almost always surprised when the bobbin runs out. The thing is… it doesn’t even upset me when it happens.

While piecing together a top furiously… (can you imagine yourself in action?) Three times in a row, the bobbin ran out at the end of what I was sewing, so no inconvenience encountered. At times however, I am so intent on sewing straight and managing the fabric while it goes though the machine that I don’t realize that for the last yard and a half the bobbin was empty!

I HAD an excuse when I was using my Singer Brilliance machine. There was no way to know while sewing as it the bobbin is enclosed for that model. Using the Viking Sapphire though leaves me with no excuse other than I like to gamble. It is a top-load bobbin with a see-through window so you can check see the bobbin on the fly.

One of my other peccadilloes is to wind two bobbins at a time. I know that I’ll still have to stop and change it out when it runs out. It feels though like it will be quicker than having to wait to wind it every time it runs dry.  Do you have OCD about certain things while sewing?  You heard it hear first from my, mine is “The Bobbin Surprise”!  Happy Quilting.

Begin at the Beginning

My wife and I have been quilting now for the past 15 years, but only seriously for the past two.  Because of that we both understand and consider ourselves to be new to quilting.  We read a lot from books, blogs, and watch videos of how to accomplish what we would like to do.

While I don’t think of myself as methodical, I do view my wife’s method of trying new techniques as a bit of a gunslinger setting patterns and colors at odds and really letting her artistic talent out on a romp at times. We’ve talked at length about how we can be successful at this new love of ours called quilting and wanted to start at the beginning.

We’ve accomplished the ¼” seam, learned how important it was to follow directions until we knew where they were trying to go.  We learned and experimented with quilt composition; determining what materials we wanted to use and how colors would go together best within the design.  I did quite a bit of research in regards to binding. Not only have I found a technique simple to use,  the finished work comes out with clean corners every time. We learned some of the basic quilt blocks, flying geese, bear paw, and others.  All while this was going on, our quilts began to look better and better.  We didn’t learn what we know in a vacuum however, but from examining the many works from other quilters. We’ve extracted pattern ideas, color schemes, blogged techniques but most comes through our own trials and error.

I do get frustrated at times when I’ve had to rip a seam for the third time, but can laugh at my mistakes also and soldier on even when I know that a square may still be a little off-kilter.  My wife has said that this is one of the most valuable things that she has learned from me, that it’s okay to move past a mistake and not spend hours trying to attain perfection in a learning environment.  My wife suggested that I take a moment and also talk about pinwheels…  This for us was one of the most technically difficult/fun/frustrating things that we did.

Our 23-year-old daughter has been asking about making a quilt and has come down from Kansas to spend the next three weeks with us.  She is familiar with a sewing machine but I think her expectations are a little more than her skill level.  She looks at quilting as just sewing a lot of straight lines.  As she described the quilt she wanted to make my eyes grew bigger and bigger.  80” x 110” paper pieced with non-traditional binding.

I wanted to be sure that I didn’t put her off quilting and ran across this website for tips to get your daughter involved in quilting:

After talking it through she is going to try something a little less intense for her first quilt though she is sticking to her guns on the size of the quilt.  I think back on all of the different techniques I’ve learned and all that I have yet to learn and I can’t help but wish that she would let me work with her and begin at the beginning…

Any advice?

Sewing for the first time!!! This is some weird stuff…

The first stitch I’ve made

Okay… I’m not trying to make a big deal of this, but needed to have a record of my learning curve (read steep) on learning how to sew. I’ve done two quilts before, stitched by hand almost 10 years ago and now have set my sights on learning how to sew outfits on a sewing machine. I have to say I’m not a beginning sewer, I’m completely new to it.

I started two weeks ago reading about it in an article online which translated to reading some blogs. They really piqued my interest and before I knew it I was buying a sewing machine. I spent the last two weeks in preparation reading and thinking about what I wanted to do.

Tonight I learned to thread a bobbin and thread the needle on the machine!! At this point I should mention that the sewing machine I bought is a 6180 from singer. I wanted to start out with something that could do a little bit of everything and if my interest holds in a year purchase something else.

I was so excited to find some material lying around to put my first stitches in and then called it a night. I’ll post a picture of it, but for me it might as well have been the greatest thing ever sewn.

Good day and enjoy the needle and thread!!

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