Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What Does One Wear to a QuiltCo

I'm not the t-shirt collector, that title would go to Warrior Husband.


I am going to start a quilting shirt collection for no other reason that *I* am not a traditional quilter, I love the outlandish, loud, in your face, I'm not *just* a quilter, I am THE Quilter.

Yes, please, I'll take one of all of these!

Monday, June 30, 2014

#49 "I Refuse To Sink" {June 2104}

Size: 50" w x 64" h
Pattern: The Jelly Roll/1,600 Quilt
Fabrics: "Cuzco" by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics
Thread: Aurifil Quilt Patchwork and Embroidery Thread - Bright White (2024) 50wt
Backing: Bella Solids - Periwinkle for Moda Fabrics
Batting: Warm and Natural
Binding: Bella Solids - Periwinkle for Moda Fabrics

This is the third quilt made for the wonderful Barnett Family, and in this case for their daughter's 16th birthday. The anchor and infinity symbolize stability and a strong foundations.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

#48 "Just Keep Swimming" {June 2104}

Size: 33" w x 36" h
Pattern: Self made design.  Paper piecing of triangular fish, off set flying geese for plants, and a simple nine patch of "rocks."

  • Millie’s Garden collection designed by Joined at the Hip for Clothworks
  • Blueprint Basics Fabric "Iron" By Valori Wells for Robert Kaufman
  • This 'N That "Aurora Silver" By Nancy Halvorsen For Benartex
  • Textures "Cobblestones Grey" by Anglea Walters For Art Gallery Fabrics
  • Matrix "Cadet Blue" from Quilting Treasures
  • Matrix "Ice Blue" from Quilting Treasures

Thread: Aurifil Quilt Patchwork and Embroidery Thread - Bright White (2024) 50wt
Backing: Simply Color "Graphite Grey" Ikat Diamonds by V & Co for Moda
Batting: Warm and Natural
Binding:  Desired Things by Robyn Pandolph for RJR Fabrics

This sweet baby quilt originally started out years ago for myself when I thought we were going ot start a family.  As time went by and the decision was made that we weren't going to go that route this time around, I decided the top needed to go to a family that loved the outdoors and fishies as much as I did.  I was commissioned by a friend to make a baby quilt for a friend of theirs who happen to be fly fishing tour guides here in Bozeman, Montana, and I could think of a better home for my "Just Keep Swimming."  So, to little River, whom this quilt is going to, I wish for you many wonderful adventurers! 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

If Harley Quinn Quilted...

The Misfit Quilters started up a blind swap with the theme "Spring Cleaning" way back in March of this year. Of course with delusions of grander, I assumed I was going to be able to get all of the mini quilts done, my swap partners goodies and all of my orders all completed before 1 May.

Insert total psychotic laugh here.
It totally didn't happen.

Luckily my partner was Amanda, the super uber cool Wonder Veteran wife, Patchwork For Paws quilt making, Super Mom, and designer of Little Treasures by Amanda.  Yeah totally NO pressure there.  Actually Amanda is one of the kindest gals you'll ever meet, and her design eye just kicks butt. You should ask her about her Giant Dresden Plate she's making for Patchwork For Paws and her red work.

The brilliant part about this Spring Cleaning for the quilt room theme was that we all went to Pinterest and pinned items we really liked. This way, we all had an idea of colors and things we needed/liked/obsessed over.  In my case I also peppered her with questions as a random thing. What are your favorite colors? I know you like comics and superhero's, who's your favorite character you like to follow?  And she answered me in one sentence.

"I really like Harley Quinn."

So not having a background in DC Comics (I'm a Marvel Girl) I went to Warrior Husband and he pulled out some of the issues with Harley and showed me on his various video games a really fascinating personality. She also happens to wear a lot of bright reds, black and white.

Game on.  So this is the theme I came up with was, "If Harley Quinn Quilted"

I made:

I wanted to make more but I was already running behind, like one month behind, and thanks to Amanda for being so patient with me.  I sure hope you like it!  I had a blast making them!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer of Patchwork: Patchwork Camera Straps

I love pulling fabrics and matching them together.  They are my paints, crayons and my pencils. Plus added bonus, they have a pattern and texture already built in! As I am *patiently* waiting for quilt orders, I thought I'd take a few fabrics and start creating!  Bring on the patchwork!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer of Patchwork: Patchwork Dog Collar

A few weeks ago, it occurred to me that my service dog Bentley could use a different colored dog collar.  Not that his current one wasn't bad, I just decided that it might be kinda fun to have a new one to "match" each other. Because I'm weird that way! So out I went to out locally owned dog stores and found a lot of really cutesy, fluffy type collars, but nothing just fit his personality.  So, back to the drawing board aka-Pinterest. Sure, if I wanted to sew ribbon onto 1" webbing I could be like every other person and then, they aren't washable either.  Eeew.  OK think, think, think. I'm surrounded by fabric, I love to pull colors...patchwork...dog collar...patchwork dog collar!  I could use two main colors, pull scraps and just make color combos that work with his MOLLE bags as well as his personality! (And maybe my outfits too.)

So, I headed over to Etsy and found a pattern made by Fidos Fashion Collars. The main reason I chose this one was simple:  Theirs gave me the dimensions to wrap the fabric around the webbing.  I have seen this done two ways: either just fabric with interfacing folded into each other, or fabric sewing just on top of the webbing.  I wanted the fabric to be the one thing up against my dog's neck, not the webbing, and, as much as I have seen dogs pull, I wanted that webbing as the core to help take the stress of a pull if it was needed. They also have a a great sizing chart to fit just about every dog.

For my patchwork, I just used the typical 2.5" to show off a bit of the fabric design. I used a straight stitch for the edges and a sati stitch for the attachment points.  Again, not for any other reason but if a dog pulls I don't want the fabric to give.  So at this point, my hardware is my weakest link.  The supplier I use for my camera gear is Country Brook Designs. They maybe a bit more expensive, but their quality and their customer service is fantastic.

So, here are the three sets of collars I've made (out of the 4 thus far, 2 more to go) just this week alone! I do believe SchnoodleFish is alive and well! If you are interested in a collar for your Goggie, drop me a line, I'll get one made up for ya!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The Care & Feeding of Your Sewing Gear

My sewing machine is my most treasured possession, short of my car, it is the most expensive thing I own.  I not only make my living off of my machine, but in many cases it is my best friend and therapist; the last thing I want or need is for her (yup, my machine is a her and her name is Roz from Monster’s Inc.) to become jammed up and broken.  Like any piece of machinery, a sewing machine needs to be cleaned and maintained in order for it operate properly.  There are a few easy things that you can do to make sure yours stays happy and healthy between major services.  

I should add,my machine is a front loading machine.  The other type is a top loading machine.  With the exception of a few things, it's done just about the same way.  If in doubt, RTDM!

Get Out Your Manual
Seriously that massive book thingie that came with the machine?  Go get it and go read it the cleaning requirements.  Boaring….Yeah, but you would be totally surprised what you will find in there.  Mine suggests that my machine be oiled every 3-5 bobbins!  Here is a list of a few of the machine manufacturers where you should be able to get a PDF of your machine.

Supplies You Will Need
  • A stiff-bristled lint brush
  • Sewing machine oil
  • The screw driver or alan wrench that came with the machine
  • A toothpick
  • A pair of tweezers
  • Paper Towels
  • Vacuum cleaner (optional)

Using your machine's maintenance guide from your book as your guide, you can follow the same type of steps to clean your machine.

  • Make sure the power to your machine is off and pull out plug from electric outlet.
  • Remove presser foot and needle and dispose of your needle in your sharps bottle.
  • Remove stitch plate and set it aside.
  • Remove the bobbin and set it aside.
  • Remove the hook (if applicable) and set it aside.
Look at that! All opened up and it wasn't all that scary! This is where I yell, "Naked Baby!"
With your stiff-bristled lint brush, clean the bobbin area.  Don't forget to clean under and around the feed dogs. My brush is long and rather stiff and it allows the bits of lint to kind of stick to so I can pull them out. Then take a paper towel and clean off all the edges that had the dust collections. In other words, gently wipe everything down with a dry towel.

Best bit advice I was given: Brush OUT of your machine not into it.  If in doubt take your vacuum with the attachment and place it in the bobbin area so it will help pull out the lint and yuck.  You can also use your tweezers to pull out the stuck lint wad thingies and threads that got lodged, but be gentle when pull them out. Never blow at the dust  with your breath and never used canned air. You really want to tick off your machine maintenance person? Tell them you used canned air to blow out your machine. You run into the chance of lodging lint further into the machine instead of out, your breath contains moisture which can create more problems, can canned air has the very quick ability ot get cold fast and damage metal parts.

Cleaning and oiling
Now the fun parts! I take things a step further than most "normally run" sewing machines. I run my machine every single day, so I like to look at and check over all the moving parts.
I dust off the bobbin case and check that my tension is set correctly (make sure you talk to your maintenance person when you service the machine and have them show you how to set it.)  If the case is skunky, I use a dry paper towel to clean it up and my tweezers to help gently pull things out.

I very lightly run the end of a toothpick with a small wad of paper towel along the hook race (where I put my oil).  Your machine may or may not have it, so look at your book.  This allows me to get at any build up or find burrs that need to be addressed.

Next clean off the needle clamp and check for threads that got jammed.

Clean off the stitch plate both the front and back sides.  Be sure to look for any new strike marks or wear marks that might need to be address with your machine maintenance person.

Now, here's where information gets varied, so make sure you refer to you your book. *I* place 2-3 drops of oil on the hook race and 2-3 drops of oil on the back of the bobbin case.  Again I can't stress enough, talk to your machine maintenance person and look in your book for reference.  Some machines don't even get oiled by you, some do.

Putting It All Back Together
Now that you've cleaned off and oiled your machine, now's the time to put is all back together, sans threads.
First the hook goes back in (if applicable)
Next the bobbin case and lock in as needed.
Pop the stitch plate back into place.
Attach the presser foot, but don't add a needle yet.
I then plug my machine back in and run it for a few moments to move the oil around so it won't skunk up my threads.  I can then listen for any new noises or sounds.
Once I'm satisfied with that, I move on to the next step.

The Sewing Machine Wash
Lots of folks forget that the outside of the machine is just as important as the inside.  Now's the time to haul out a damp towel and clean off the outside of the machine, dust off the fan intakes, clean out where the lint gathers at the thread pins, and clean out the thread cutters. I take a lightly dampened towel and clean off the buttons and screens as well as the table.

Put on your new needle and there you go! All cleaned, oiled and purring like a happy kitten!  And the best part is YOU did it! Now, time to move on to a few other important sewing bits and bobs.

Periodically wipe the inside blade surfaces to keep them free of lint; add a small drop of household oil at the assembly point to maintain smooth cutting action.
Consider applying a light coating of oil on the scissors' blades and edges to prevent rust, especially if you live in a coastal area, use the scissors in a humid environment, or want to store them for a long time.
I send my good scissors out 2 times a year to be professionally sharpened. My Ace Hardware here only charges me $5.00 per sharpening, so it's not a massive expense and it's worth keeping your good sheers maintained.

My edges get yucked up fast, so I like to take cool water and a small splash of white vinegar and gently wash them off, rinse them in cold water, and gently dry them with a soft cotton towel.  It seems to help get the ink off the edges, and as long as you are not "scrubbing" you won't rub off the lines.

Self-Healing Cutting Mat
This jewel of information was given to me year ago from my quilting instructor who got it from an Olfa dealer.
Fill you bathtub with room temperature water (not hot, not warm, and not cold).
In the water add 1/4 cup of white vinegar and a squirt of dove dish soap for a good lather. Use a very soft bristle brush and scrub the mat gently getting a good lather with the soap.
Rinse the mat with cool water getting all residue off the mat.
Dry it with a cotton towel, or air dry flat. Do not dry it in direct sunlight or it could damage the mat, and don't put it in the oven to "heal out" the cuts.

General Sewing Stuff
Always Use The Right Needle For the Right Project
Using the wrong size needle will put unnecessary stress on your machine and it will break.  Broken needle bits in your machine will cause serious problems! If in doubt as your local LQS shop what would work best in your machine for that project.  Schmetz Needles has a great needle guide as well where you can look up questions. I was taught to swap needles from every 8 hours to whenever you complete a project. Needles are cheep, machines aren't.

Clean off your iron plate and wash your ironing board cover.
You'd be surprised how fast your iron will get grossed up and get water deposits in it blocking steam.  Each manufacture has the how to clean the plate and inside. Also, if the plate is really messed up go take a look on Pinterest for some neat ideas to help get it sparkling clean.  Also, don't forget to wash your ironing board cover.  Between the flatteners and starches and steam, it needs to be clean and fluffed to not damage your fabrics by getting the supporting metal bace too hot.

Check Out Your Seam Ripper
Keep your seam ripper clean and use it only for sewing tasks to keep it sharp. Keep it covered when you are not using it to prevent injuries and damage. Seam rippers are an inexpensive sewing notion. They are worth replacing as soon as they start to become dull.