May is for Makers Week 4

We are in the home stretch of getting kiddos finished with school for the year, and after this week, it will officially be summer around here.  I’m looking forward to the less-structured routines.  Can’t honestly say it will be calmer though, with all 5 of my kiddos home full-time :-) But it will be wonderful.

I’ve really been enjoying this May is for Makers campaign.  Usually, I can only justify buying a pattern if it’s for something I’m making to give away.  Most of these purchases are turning into quilts I want to keep, and today’s buy is no different.

Prism ParkwaySassafras Lane designs always catch my eye.  I have the full-size Prism Parkway from an old Quiltmaker issue, which I fully intend to make. . .someday.  When they published a mini-version, it was just too cute to resist.  Plus, it will help thin my overflowing turquoise and white scrap bins.  These paper pieced blocks are so tiny, I figured I could use them as leaders and enders for two bigger paper pieced projects in my near future.

 

 

 

rebeltopMy Rebel mini-quilt from two weeks ago is progressing well.  All it needs now is a rockin’ quilt job, and it will be ready to hang in my studio.  This was a FUN project to work on.  I didn’t stress overmuch about perfect piecing, but these little 2” blocks still turned out pretty evenly, if I do say so myself.

 

SpinAnd the Spin! quilt from my first purchase is still moving along, albeit slowly.  12 blocks done (shown), and the remaining 24 are nearly halfway done.

That’s it for me this week!  So glad I’m just doing fun stitching for now, and not on any big deadlines, because the time in the studio has been sparse these past couple of weeks.  How about you? Are you kicking the summer off with fun new projects, or wrapping up older stuff?

Happy Stitching!!

emily

 

 

Winding Bobbins for the Janome Artistic Quilter SD

bobbins

Ahhh, bobbins.  I never gave them much thought until I bought my Janome Artistic SD. The saleslady assured me that the built-in bobbin winder was fantastic– even threaded your bobbin as you stitched!

So how exactly does that work in truth?  For me, abysmally.  For one thing, winding a bobbin as you stitch means you need two spools of thread- one for quilting and one for bobbin winding.  And I typically do not have that.  For another thing, free-motion quilting demands my whole attention.  Evidently, bobbin winding does too.  It is no fun to pause in your stitching, and look up to see that the thread didn’t catch on the bobbin.

So for me, the bobbin winder on the Artistic is just not a valid option.  Even when I focus entirely on bobbin winding, I can’t get a good, smooth wind on that machine to save my life. Maybe I’m doing something wrong. I’ve watched the Tin Lizzie videos on bobbin winding a dozen times- my thread just won’t stay put like theirs does.

For a while, I gave up on bobbin winding, and started buying Magna Glide prewound bobbins.  They are fantastic, and work wonderfully.  See my previous post here about taking out your anti-backlash spring so these bobbins work correctly.  And if your LQS doesn’t sell prewound bobbins, you can buy them online here.

 

prewound bobbins

 

However, those prewound bobbins can be pricey, and it limits me to just using Glide. So I started searching for separate bobbin winders.

 

 

Several people online recommended the Side Winder, even for the large class M bobbins.  You can buy one at JoAnn’s with your 40% coupon.  But it doesn’t work with M bobbins.  (See the pink bobbin in the top picture?) Evidently there’s a deluxe version out there somewhere that will wind M ones, but this basic one does not do well with that.  Fortunately, my daughters love pink, so this bobbin winder found a lovely new home on the girls’ side of the studio, and I kept searching.

sidewinder

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found this Easy Winder online, and decided to give it a go.  Here’s a picture of it straight out of the box. I was impressed that they included a wound bobbin to show you the thread path.

Universal winder1

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m all set up and ready to roll.

winder2

The first bobbin wound was a disappointment.  Then I read through their instructions again, and saw they had a different thread path for slippery threads, so I tried that with the glide.

Glide wound successfully

 

 

And we have success!!! Some other features of this winder that I really, really like are it’s small size and how quietly it runs.  I can wind bobbins during naptime, and no little heads come peeking out to see what’s causing all the commotion.

Now I need to get some other thread types to try out.  What’s your favorite quilting thread?

Happy Stitching!

emily

May is for Makers- Week 3

Woo hoo, I’m blogging on a Monday!!  AAAND, I’ve already made up the pattern I bought for this week’s May is for Makers purchase.  It’s just a little something, really.

bird

I saw these patterns from Tiny Toffee Designs on someone else’s May is for Makers post, and instantly fell in love.  Paper pieced hexies?!? Yes, please! (And no, I did NOT piece this by hand– but my thimble was the best visual reference I could come up with to show you the small scale of this project– that’s a 1” hexagon!!)

 

There are several other paper pieced hexie collections besides this one that are all equally darling in the Tiny Toffee Designs Etsy shop (link above).

Tiny Toffee Designs pattern

I struggled a little with the pattern.  I’m not a veteran foundation paper piecer by any stretch of the imagination, and there’s not a ton of instruction besides the actual foundation paper pattern.  Next time, I think I will color in my foundation before I start to piece.  I sewed the tiny orange scrap in two wrong places before I finally figured it all out.  But that may just be me.  Thankfully, there’s not a lot of unstitching to do when you sew one of these seams wrong.

I also made some progress on my mini-Rebel quilt.  I can’t wait to have this one finished and up in my studio.  It’s been a really fun pattern to piece, kind of like a puzzle coming together.  And the instructions are fantastic.  She does a really good job of keeping you organized with all the different blocks, even when the colors are different from her sample.

 

Rebel mini progress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what are you stitching this week?  Something fun, I hope!  Stay tuned, I’ve almost got a linky system set up for the blog, which means we’ll start the Japanese Quilting Study Group Sew Along VERY soon!!!

Happy Stitching!

emily

May is for Makers Week 2

 

Rest assured, I am keeping up with my purchasing goals for this month, despite the fact that I’m not managing to blog about them on Mondays :-)  Such is the life of a mom in the last few weeks before school is out for the summer.  This year, my oldest is finishing 8th grade, and I’m amazed at how many events and things have popped up during these weeks, both to finish off his 8th grade year and to get him ready for high school next year.  It’s a whirlwind, but I’m loving this special time to celebrate him.

Last week I blogged about Cynthia Brunz’s wonderful Spin! pattern.  Here’s my first finished block:

Spin block

Eleven more of these are only a couple of logs from finished, AND I’ve cut out the remainder of the strips.  This is definitely an instant gratification quilt, and I’m loving the soothing repetitive sewing.  Kind of hard to believe this is my first log cabin adventure ever! It will not be the last, I suspect.

For this week’s purchase, I bought two of Libs Elliot’s patterns, Rebel and Just Like Heaven.  My husband is an engineer, so I thought he might really enjoy a quilt based on programming code.  I’ve read through the patterns, and REALLY like the way she organized them, making it simple to swap out colors for your own choices, and explaining in the cutting directions which pieces go to which blocks.  Might just have to make the mini-Rebel quilt first for my own studio!

Yesterday my friend Elizabeth and I decided to take the May is for Makers campaign to the streets, and we adventured to a new-to-us quilt store in Mesquite, Texas: Pieced Together.  What a treat!!  Gorgeous fabric, loads of hexie patterns, and delightful ladies in the store.  I will definitely be making the trek back there again soon!

I can’t wait to show you the fabrics I bought there– they’re going into a quilt sample for a new pattern  that I hope to be releasing very soon.  I’ll update you on that one next week. This one will be a modified Kaleidoscope design.  And I’m wondering how most people would prefer to piece.  What’s your two cents- do you prefer foundation paper piecing or sewing with templates? Or should I cover all my bases and include both in the pattern?

Happy Stitching!

emily

May is for Makers Campaign

May Is For Makers | LRstitched.com

 

Well, this was supposed to be a Monday post, so I’m a wee bit late to the party, but better late than never.  Several designers I follow on social media have been talking about the May is for Makers campaign, started by Lindsey at LR Stitched.  Her post is excellent, and well worth clicking over to read.

And I realized that I too am guilty of scooping up free internet help and tutorials, and well, usually skipping the patterns for sale.  Not anymore! For this month, once a week, I’m buying a new pattern, or Craftsy class, from a blogger I admire.  And I’ll be posting about my purchases here on the blog.

First up, I bought Spin! from my friend Cynthia Brunz.  Her scrap quilting tutorials are awesome, and I’ve blogged before about making a quilt from her tutorials.  When Spin! came out, I almost immediately realized I had half a tub of fabric perfect for this quilt.

Spin pattern and fabric

 

All of the dark fabrics were given to me by someone dear to my heart who has discovered other interests besides quilting. The lights are mostly leftover Downton Abbey fabrics from a couple of patterns I released last year.  They’re all (including that ton of yardage at the top– perfect for backing!) going into a Spin! quilt.

The pattern looks very easy to follow, and I’m looking forward to a couple of quiet nights in my studio.  It’s going to be LOVELY to follow someone else’s pattern, instead of trying to figure out my own for a change.

Fun sewing, using up stash fabric to clear space in my studio, supporting an indie designer- this is just a win-win all the way around!!

What about you? Do you have a favorite indie designer?  Let me know in the comments, maybe I’ll be buying from them next week!

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

Bello!

Bello!

Well, hello again my friends!!  I’m chagrined that it has been so long since last post. . .But I’m thrilled to be back in the blogosphere!  Let’s just say I’ve been working hard on some secret sewing. . . .And now I have LOTS to share with you about new techniques I’ve learned, and lots of lessons learned about taking care of an Artistic Sit Down machine.

But for today, I’m easing back into things with a fun and simple post.  The quilt above is some progress I made today on a little panel quilt for my youngest son.  He turned four today, and has been patiently waiting for his Minion quilt. It’s backed with batman flannel, and I’m really having fun quilting it with the planks design.  I learned the design from Christina Camelli over at A Few Scraps.  In case you’re not familiar with her work, she has tons of free-motion designs that can be worked on a domestic machine.  I’ve learned lots from her tutorials, and REALLY enjoyed her Craftsy class, Wild Quilting.

Here’s my first sample stitch out of this pattern.  I love how easy it is to do, yet when you’ve finished a section, it looks kind of complex.

plank quilting

Coming up in the next couple of weeks, we’ll lay out plans for the Japanese Quilting Study Group Sew Along.  I’m so excited for this project, and hope you will join me!

I’ll also be posting about fixing the presser foot lever on your Artistic Sit Down quilter.  Since it has now happened to me FOUR times, I feel confident about walking you through the process to fix yours too.  And we’ll be discussing bobbin winding.  Evidently, I’m not the only one who can’t wind a good bobbin on this machine, and I’m busy testing out several independent bobbin winders to find one that works well with the big bobbins.

What have you been sewing lately? Please let me know in the comments below, I’m looking forward to catching up with you!

Happy Stitching!

emily

Of Doll Clothes and Rag Quilts

Doll dresses and rag quilt

Last Friday, I completed a massive “work” quilting deadline, and even though it’s only the first of many, I rewarded myself with a much-needed break, and spent the weekend only sewing on “personal” projects.  I also tidied up my studio, and it’s amazing how those two things have enabled me to get back to work with a fresh enthusiasm today.

I’ve been wanting to make a rag quilt for years.  I have an overflowing 56 gallon tub of donated fabrics earmarked for baby quilts, and more batting leftovers than I know what to do with, so a rag quilt seemed like an efficient way to use both. My girls quickly realized that the faster we finished the rag quilt, the sooner we could make doll clothes, so they helped with arranging the fabrics and a lot of the piecing.  We finished two quilts in a day!!  I still need to snip seam allowances and wash them, but hey, they’re almost done!

For the doll clothes, I used a tutorial I had pinned months ago.  Probably the hardest part of this pattern was taking her internet image of the pattern pieces and sizing it correctly to fit our dolls.  I opened the images in Adobe Illustrator, and scaled them until they filled a page, and they worked fine.  I don’t typically sew much in the way of clothes, so I’m wildly pleased with how well those sweet puffed and cuffed sleeves turned out.

After the first dress, they took less than 2 hours start to finish, so I will absolutely hang on to this pattern as birthday gift needs arise.  These were a lot of fun to make.  My girls have been sewing clothes for their dolls non-stop, so I was feeling more than a little guilty that my doll (blue dress on the left), didn’t have anything but the store-bought dress she came with.  I think she looks pleased with her new outfit, don’t you?

Happy Stitching!

 

Book Review: Sew in Style- Make Your Own Doll Clothes

This Christmas, we got 18” dolls for our three daughters. As much as they love playing with them, they love dressing them even more. We bought a copy of Sew in Style-Make Your Own Doll Clothes for the girls, and it is a FANTASTIC book.

Sew in Style

My 11 year old daughter uses the book independently. She knew how to use her sewing machine before, but this book has been an excellent guide for teaching her finer skills. So far, my girls have made dresses, skirts and purses from the book, and they are having a ball doing it!

One of the things we have learned about 18” dolls is that not all brands of dolls are exactly the same size.  Our girls have Our Generation Dolls from Target, which tend to be a little smaller than their Wal-Mart counterparts. So purchased doll clothes and shoes may not always fit other brands.  However, Erin Hentzel solves this problem rather elegantly in the book by encouraging you to try the doll’s outfit on before sewing in the velcro, which allows you to easily make adjustments for a good fit, regardless of brand.

18'' doll clothes

Here’s a group picture of all the party dresses the girls have made. I’m thrilled with this book, and have bought two additional copies for friends as well.  Even though my daughter prefers to sew by machine, I like that the book included instructions for hand sewing as well. Once my world slows down a little this summer, I’m looking forward to trying out the hand-sewing techniques.

 

How about you?  Do you sew doll clothes?

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

JQSG 2016- Where Shall We Journey Next?

It’s hard to believe we’re starting year three of the Japanese Quilting Study Group.  I have learned so much through researching these posts, and “met” some of the most amazing quilters ever!  Certainly Japanese quilting styles continue to grow in popularity– did you notice that Teresa Duryea Wong’s book was mentioned in the March/April issue of Quiltmaker?  So fun!!

But with the new year wide open before us, I must admit, I’m a little baffled at where to go from here.  As you can see from my bookshelf, there are plenty of Japanese authors and designers left to explore. .. .

JQSG2016

 

So we can continue merrily along, sharing information as we discover new things, but I’m considering shaking things up a bit. Less me talking, more your input. Would you be interested in a Quilt Along? Sort of a practicum year for the study group if you will.  I’ll set up the website for link parties, and we’ll check in with one another monthly to see what books you’re reading, what patterns you’re trying out, what Japanese fabrics you’re stitching with. Maybe there will be some sponsors, discounts, and prizes along the way.

I’m thinking about starting the party in May, which gives you plenty of time to pick out a project, or search your stash.  And it gives me time to finish a rather massive project that is due at the end of April :-)

So what do you say?  Are you in?  If not, where would you like to see the Japanese Quilting Study Group go this year?

Happy Stitching!

emily

 

New Pattern: Zippy

This fun little quilt has been waiting patiently for a pattern for far too long!!  I designed Zippy last spring, and had so much fun making it that I immediately made a second one for a friend.  And then we moved, so the pattern writing waited for a little while.

I can very safely say that it will take you less time to make this quilt than it took me to publish it!! :-)

zippy purpleweb

My favorite aspect about this quilt is that you can make it in any color scheme.  Better yet, pick your most overflowing scrap bin, and make the background in that color.  These shapes are big, so they really put a dent in your scraps.

Did I mention that the quilt is all straight seams?  Super, super easy.  And I’ve got step-by-step piecing diagrams, so if you’re new to the angled edges of these shapes, you’ll still be sewing away in no time. Speaking of the shapes, I used Fons and Porter rulers (the pyramid, diamond and hexagon) for this quilt.  The pattern includes template pieces you can trace onto template plastic, but the rulers definitely make it easier!!

 

 

Patriotic Zippy cover web

Zippy finishes at 55 by 66 inches, perfect for snuggling, or draping on a twin-sized bed.

Zippy is available for immediate download in my Craftsy shop.

If you make your own Zippy, please send me pictures!!  I’d love to see the quilt in all sorts of fun color schemes.  Wouldn’t it be fun in reds and pinks? Or black prints with a white/bright accent strip?

 

 

 

Happy Stitching!!

emily