Saturday, February 25, 2012

{Post #919} HQ Frame

Used my HQ frame for the first time last night.  The machine glides soooo effortlessly on it that I nearly pitched it out the window on my first attempt.  After I got a grip, it was a breeze.  I have been using smoky monofilament thread for the last few quilts I did and just changed it out for a wheat color.  Thought all was well until I advanced the quilted part and saw what the back looked like:

Here is a shot looking down the quilt while it's on the frame:

I unsewed all the quilting once I saw the tension was horrid.  Thankfully that is really easy because all you have to do is pull out the bobbin thread and then pluck off the top thread.  I am also really glad that I started with such a small project so I didn't have that much unsewing to do.

I sewed the shams together with a tiny seam to make them one continuous piece to quilt.  The white on the top sham is the sun.  Remember the sun?  Hahaha...

Just got two cheap pillows to put in these, so I'm off to go down and add the backings and make the binding for the outer edges.  See ya!


Friday, February 24, 2012

{Post #918} Florabunda 48 Blocks & Border

Finished up the center of my Florabunda quilt tonight and added one pieced inner border.  I think I'll cut up the dark 3-1/2" strips I have left over to run one border of that around the outside. 

I sewed the 1-1/2" strips left over from trimming down the light 3-1/2" strips (original size of the triangle units) together then trimmed them down to 2" and sewed them in lengths.  I used up all but about 10" of what I had cut originally.  How great is that?

The picture at the bottom is w/o the inner border yet attached that is shown in close-ups above.  How confusing is that?


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

{Post #917} Florabunda 36 & Bow Ties

Here are all my Florabunda blocks sewn together.  This measures 54" square.  I cut enough more pieces to add a row to the top and bottom to make it 54" x 72".  Then I'll add some scraps to put a "border" on it...maybe.

Here is a pile of pieces to make 12 more blocks.

Julie is sending me 25 sets of pieces (and I sent her 25), so I'm going to wait to make any more sets of 4 until I get her pieces sewn up.  I finished piecing all my bow tie blocks that are cut.


Monday, February 20, 2012

{Post #916} Thimble Time!

Bonnie is having a link-up Monday about thimbles.  I have used many different kinds of thimbles.  For a long time now I've just used the cheap ones available at Mary Jo's or Wal-mart.  Here is a pic of an extra large one.  I used to use this size, but now a large fits more comfortably.  The good thing about this type is that it is inexpensive and widely available.  What I like about this is that it has a deep grid on the top as well as on the sides to keep the needle from slipping out.

I hand quilt without a hoop (I used an oval and a border quilting hoop in the past that I will be selling at the next yard sale).  I baste about every 4 inches across the quilt.  I find that going hoopless helps make the hills and valleys necessary for getting a good stitch.  The hoops were helpful for when I first started.

Using a thimble is unnatural at first.  You must make yourself use one until it is second nature.  My children have teased me when I am looking for my thimble and it's on my finger.  A good book on hand-quilting is one by Ami Simms.  I have loaned mine to a friend, so I don't know the exact title.  Like any new habit or hobby, at first one has to follow the instructions step by step until it becomes natural.  

It's all about habits.  One other seriously strong habit I have developed is putting my needle in the top of my shirt/blouse/jumper when I am waiting to rethread or just "setting it down".  I haven't lost a needle in many years due to this little habit.

I don't wear an under finger covering.  Like others whose hand quilting stories I've read, I know when I feel the needle on my finger (or callous), it's time to start the needle back up through the quilt sandwich.  Obviously the needle is not pushed down hard enough to draw blood.  

Probably the most helpful tool in my hand quilting is my chatelaine.  See it here.  A dear friend made it for me, after which I hand-quilted these beautiful antique blocks, given to me by my father-in-law.  

The chatelaine keeps all my supplies together, and I finished this in record time.  I quilted inside each string (because some of the fabrics were very fragile and I felt they needed the stability).  Then I hand-quilted "X's" in the sashing strips and Baptist fans in the outer border.

I hand quilt a lot of the quilts I make for my own family, especially table runners and wall hangings.  I love the softness it gives the quilt as well as the control for where the stitches are made.

Here's two more of my hand quilted projects:

Best advice about hand quilting is practice, Practice, PRACTICE.