Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Baby Elephants and a small Duffel Bag

Most fabrics in this Baby Elephants quilt are leftovers from burp cloths and swaddle blankets that I made for our youngest grandson 3 years ago. The front is cotton flannel while the back is 100% cotton.

Of course, I used Aurifil thread for the piecing and quilting and Dream Cotton batting.

I used my circle templates with my ruler foot to quilt this. There is a little design around the inside squares - next time I think I will try a curve that makes more of a circle around the square. 

I just used circles to fill in the rest. 

I found that it is much easier, for me, to use the inside of the circle template rather than the outside. This is the largest circle template I have and as you can see, there is no outside choice. This was pretty easy to use. There is an opening in all of my closed templates and I have a piece to tape in when using the template - thus the blue painter's tape.

I tried using the outside of this template but found the inside is definitely the way to go.

This is a donation quilt and one more from my clean-out-this-stash project. Last week I made backs and cut batting for the entire pile that needs to be quilted. 

I took a little time away from my project last week to make a bag for our youngest grandson. He needed a bag for some blocks. His mom suggested a duffel type bag. 

I quilted the fabric before sewing any seams. The strapping is already on the other side (outside) of this piece you can see the stitching but maybe you can see some of the quilting. I did some large scale square stippling. I've always had trouble free motion quilting right angles. Well, it's not a problem anymore with the quilting rulers!

Here is the bag opened. 

I gave him the bag last night and I got a text today with a picture of a happy little boy who had filled his new bag with blocks.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Ray's new hat

Ray's hat is finished. This is the same pattern I used for my hat, The Manning Park Hat Pattern. For Ray's hat, I used 3 colors and manipulated the pattern a bit to accommodate 3 instead of 2 colors. I did not do the picot edge but I did use the same kind of yarn - Rauma Mitu. 

This is the first pom-pon that I have made in MANY years! My new pom-pon maker arrived in the mail just a few hours before I tried it.
My friend Nancy made the pom-pon for my hat. My only advice - read the instructions or at least look at the pictures! What you see in the photo is my third try - the first one AFTER reading the instructions. The first two times I had the maker put together backwards.

It's snowing and supposed to get colder. We might get a chance to wear our new hats soon!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

What is a ruler foot?

What is a ruler foot? I have been asked that question so let me attempt to explain.

On a sewing machine, a foot is always used to hold down the fabric while it is stitched. 

This is my go-to foot to use on my machine. It fastens onto the machine and the needle goes up and down in that opening.

There are feed dogs under the foot that pull the fabric through the machine while it is stitching.

When a person does free-motion quilting, the feed dogs are lowered because the person guiding the fabric doesn't want to fight with the feed dogs feeding front to back. Fabric can be moved in any direction when free-motion quilting. So the feed dogs are lowered and a free-motion quilting foot is used. Here is the foot I use.

The foot is open so I can see the needle easily. This foot bounces on the fabric so it does not continually hold the fabric like a traditional foot. This bouncing allows me to move the fabric as I am stitching.

A ruler foot is another free-motion quilting foot. It acts like a regular free-motion foot but the bottom is taller. The foot still bounces on the fabric but it is tall/thick enough that it will not inadvertently bounce onto the ruler and shatter a needle.

In the following picture, the regular free-motion foot is on the left and the ruler foot is on the right.

The free-motion quilting rulers are thick usually about 1/4". That makes it harder to accidentally move them under the needle or have the foot accidentally bounce onto the ruler.

Why use free-motion rulers? I can stitch straight lines easier as well as circles and other shapes. My shapes are more uniform. 

I love free-motion quilting and the ruler foot and rulers are just another tool for me to use.

Hope that helps!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Turtle Quilt is finished.

I decided the green Irish chain, which I made on a retreatneeded something. I added some turtles and then some borders. The binding also reflects the  great colors of the turtles.

I used my new rulers to quilt this quilt. The turtles have diamonds around them.

The 9-patch blocks have squares - I don't think you can see the inner one; it's in the ditch around the center green square.

This quilt has been laundered and you can see the crinkliness from the Dream Cotton batting. Did you know that crinkliness is a word?

I used Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting. Oh, can you see the turtle tracks around the green border? I like my wavy line ruler.

Did you notice the binding above? It goes quite well with the back. I love color especially in children's quilts. I hope some child will fall in love with this donation quilt.

The Turtle Quilt is 55" by 55" and another quilt from my clean-out-this-stash project.


Update on my clean-out-this-stash project:

The pile of quilt tops is getting smaller - yay!

Parts of two quilts are rolled on boards ready to be pinned.

There are a couple of pinned quilts that need to be quilted.

I am currently quilting one quilt using my wavy line ruler.

There are a couple of quilts that need the binding hand sewn.

I'm beginning to feel like this project really is manageable! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Red and Blue Stars

Another donation quilt from my clean-out-this-stash project is finished! The Red and Blue Stars is based on a flannel quilt kit that I bought a number of years ago and made recently. You can see it here.

This larger version is 64" by 64". I used Aurifil thread and Dream Cotton batting. Have you picked up on a theme? I love Aurifil thread and Dream Cotton batting.

I free motion quilted this with a wavy line crossing the quilt. I got the idea from Cheryl at Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting - she used a smaller tighter wavy line on her bear paw quilts. Cheryl said she got the idea from Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts. It's a quick quilting motif that is easy to do and adds texture.

The back is more navy than the picture looks. It's a piece of fabric that just happened to be in my stash.

Our weather is cold and very damp. We've had lots of ice recently so no outside photos.

I have 3 or 4 quilts that just need the binding sewn down so I may have more January finishes.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bernina Ruler Foot and Rulers

I'm learning to use the adjustable Bernina ruler foot and rulers. Actually the ruler foot is simple to use - it's almost like using any quilting foot except you adjust the height. Adjusting the height is easy although I may never have to adjust it again since most of my quilts are the same thickness. Even though the toe isn't open, you can see what you are doing. The only weird thing is that you have to lower the foot to thread the needle.

A variety of rulers came with the Bernina Ruler Package. Ignore the blue painters tape holding the pieces together.
I haven't removed all of the white paper from the backs yet.

I practiced for a while on a practice sandwich and then decided to just concentrate on one thing at a time. I chose the straight edge and a child-size quilt. 

I cross hatched the center, 

did some interesting stitching on the navy border, 

did some in-the-ditch-stitching, and did some straight stitching on the outer borders. Everything was done with the same ruler and free motion quilting.  That interesting stitching on the navy border required a little math to figure it out which was good for my mind!

I had to hold the ruler in different directions with each of my hands. Using either hand to holding the ruler and keeping the ruler from slipping are the hardest parts. Some of the rulers in my set are pretty small and my invisigrip won't stay on them. You don't have to look close to find my bobbles! I did not turn the quilt like you would with a walking foot - I just sewed in whatever direction was needed.

Before I began my second quilt, I was able to get some grips - little sandpaper disks - that work great. I did a second quilt using the straight edge with the grips on it and the ruler held much better.

It was much easier and I think I'm beginning to adjust to using the ruler in different directions.

Can you see the grips on the ruler?

When I finished the center of the quilt and got to the border, I decided to try a different ruler. I had no problems holding it or matching up the ruler to the design.

I'm looking forward to trying all of the rulers and eventually getting more. They are easy and fun to use. 

Do you like my cool purple gloves? I've always worn white Machingers but decided to try the Grabaroos. They work about the same and add more color to my life!

Some Knitting Finishes

I have some knitting finishes - it seems that I'm always working on a variety of projects and all of a sudden, a few were done!

First is a Gansey Cowl. The pattern is Chunky Gansey Cowl. I did modify the pattern - I added 12 stitches to make it a little larger.

I used JaggerSpun yarn and I think this will look good with my new Gansey Hat.


Next is The Manning Park Hat, an easy knit with a double brim. You can see the inside is white in the second picture. The detailed edge has a picot trim which I'll probably skip next time. I used Rauma Mitu yarn - it is wonderful to work with and warm to wear.

My friend, Nancy, helped with the pompom. I hadn't made one in MANY years. Nancy has a great pom pom maker - I think I need to invest in one.


Last is another pair of socks.  I don't think I can ever have enough hand knit socks. I used Fiber Seed Sprout yarn in the color Electric Slide. I love this yarn!

I again used Ann Budd's pattern for 7 stitches per inch from her book. However, this time I tried a Fish Lips Kiss Heel. It is so easy to do and feels great. I think it is my new go-to-heel.


I'll be casting on another pair of socks soon. I'm also working on a sweater - I just need to have the pattern changes worked out before I begin.


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