Monday, April 14, 2014

How To Quilt A Stitch No. 4: Meandering on Point

I like the look of this particularly in a more plain area of  quilt top fabric.

Here's where we are headed.

A little marking ( again I used Frixion Erasable pen by Pilot.)  to get started is fine if it helps.. particularly in this example where I was equally dividing an area into 4 triangles.... What goes inside each triangle is really an elongated meander so if it helps you get going, draw the first few lines of your meander. By the third line, you'll have the idea down and can free hand from there on.   
After all areas are quilting, iron the Frixion marking away and you are done!  Happy Quilting All!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Georgia's Challenge: 915 Maple Avenue

Is this not fun and interesting?  Kudos to Georgia Heller for this mostly ink'd quilt that came about as a result of a very interesting Challenge... 

It was made in response to a challenge to make a quilt inspired by one of the houses in the Maple/Ash historic district of Tempe, Arizona.  The darker shadows in this piece make it come alive.  Beautiful job Georgia.  This looks like a sweet place to live and the viewer is certain that adorable little girl in the window is headed for the door to take a bike ride.  :-)  Love this story quilt!!!  
 Notes from Georgia.... I would be happy to have  you share the photo of 915 Maple Avenue. Most of the quilt is inked, but it also includes three copyright-free images printed on fabric -  the little girl, the cactus, and the chair. These were appliqued.  Nice quilting too.  Click on photo for enlarged view. 

For those following my series of How to Quilt A Stitch... the series returns with the next post. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

How to Quilt A stitch No. 3 : Curved Veil

This is an easy, fast and graceful filler. Heres the whole idea... Stitch one graceful curve top to bottom.... move over a couple stitches and return to the top with the same curvy line plan while  overlapping the previous line.  The rest of this filler plan is a repeat of the line just stitched til you have your area filled.
 I'm showing the filled area here on the horizontal as it looks pretty cool in either vertical or horizontal orientation. Even when I plan to run this veil horizontal on my quilt, I find it easier to turn the quilt top such that my actual stitching is done stitching vertically.
Happy Quilting All!

Friday, April 11, 2014

How To Quilt A Stitch No 2: A Curly Q

This is a fun "filler" stitch that takes a bit of time but is worth the investment. I'm using a 40 wt thread here... Much more than that might not be to your liking as this stitch employs stitching atop previous stitch lines.  This is where we are headed.

Begin your first Curly Q by completing a stitched circle then adding a curly Q in the inside of the circle and stopping.

You then back track over previous stitching til you get all the way back to where you began  ( another couple stitches to go in this example ( It was a good photo op where I stopped). 
Once connecting to the beginning of the circle you can continue along the circle a stitch or two, three, four ( i.e. whatever is needed to start another Curly Q circle at the same or different size.   Have faith, It will fill in the intended  quilt area nicely most likely with ONE continuos stitch line.

Responding to 2 comments/ questions:  1. Back tracking is a stated problem for some.   IF I could give any advice.... the best one is to give yourself permission to GO SLOW!  It gets easier with practice too... but going slow is your friend!!  2.  Q.What weight of bobbin thread did I use on this stitch.  A. I believe I had Bottom Line 60 wt.  ( Superior Threads) in the bobbin this time but for most of my quilting work, I am using a monofilament in the bobbin... That means... no need to 'fill' the entire bobbin, wind the bobbin a bit slower so as not to stretch the thread, and lower top tension... sometimes as low as it can go.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Quilt a Stitch No 1: Air or Slow moving Water

 I'll be posting a few stitches that will be part of my classroom Filling Station Handbook on stitches that stabilize, harmonize, and move your eyes.  It seemed like a good idea to get recorded as a tool for selecting quilting motifs.

Quilting for these 2 elements are often similar... and  in my view much easier if you draw the first line with a marking pen... in this case an iron touch erasable mark Frixion pen by Pilot. ( found at Quilt  shops and Staples). The initial marking seems easier for the brain to plan out in one long stroke of the pen than if you stitched this as your initial drawn start line.  At least, it is for me as I can stand back and look at a large width of fabric all at once.  
After that, this becomes a game of exaggerating and echoing coming close to the previous line some of the time and swinging out further others. To keep things interesting, don't be afraid to 'introduce' new curve elements as shown in on the right side of the 3rd from the bottom line.
Happy Quilting all!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The More You Do, The More You Learn

'Ain't that the truth!  As I continue my search for the perfect satin stitch... I'm really learning how skilled Libby Lehmans Satin Stitch is. Some more personal learnings by doing:

1. Do your best to minimize table top drag as the machine does it's thing.  eg. ... keep from allowing overhang ( quilt top draping off the edge into your lap, etc. ) It seems, the more pull in any direction other than what the feed dogs have planned.. the more distortion on that would-be perfect satin stitch.

2. In this project, I  was using the thread spool holders on my machine. I found the small spools of thread tended to perform better than larger ones.  Next time,  I think I'd use a thread stand on spools larger than shown here.
What if I had done a blanket stitch ( looked blah!! for this piece)  and later decided a satin stitch would look better? Pick out the thread???  Not necessary this effort!!!!
It seems since I had used a 40 wt thread previous ( ie not very large)... it looked fine with a satin stitch overlay. A much nicer looking nice sheen finish for this piece.
Amy's comment on the previous post is spot on.... I had already used Sulky's threads on the above and truly like the look more than some other poly threads.  Thanks Amy!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

In Search of The Perfect Satin Stitch

Spoiler Alert.... I'm still searching but learned much on the following effort.  Since I'm normally a painter/quilter on whole cloth, I've had little opportunity to use this time honored stitch called Satin.  On the fun..out of my box piece I'm working on .. I'd like to honor the great Libby Lehman who OWNS the satin stitch as far as I'm concerned.
There are obvious things I will mention first in working on such a dense stitch as this on a quilt top.
1)  A good quality stabilizer is paramount... Stitch and Tear is what's underneath my quilt top.
2)  Using comparable fabric layers and the stabilizer a test of planned stitches is worth every second.  Record each/ width length you've tested. Once you've found a width/length you like. In this case...I liked the left most ... I recorded that to so if I need come back at a later time...I know where I've been and wish to go.

Before you start your satin stitch.... first secure your thread with a few forward/backward straight stitches. ( Thanks for this one Libby)  This will keep your thread ends secure. I hate seeing pop ups on this kind of stitch.. so  just don't permit it to 'pop' ! ;-) 
Though not required on all projects... once I found the length/width I liked, I employed use of a straight stitch on either side the the satin stitch on the far left.  This is a Libby technique I think really cleans up edges and produces a class finish!  

So now, I move to the real deal with the same preparation.  I am using a Superior 1" change 40 wt  "Rainbows" thread on this effort. I love the look of this color change.
Key learnings here..
1) DON'T RUSH THE MACHINE by 'helping/pushing as we feed the fabric. LET THE FEED DOGS do the work of moving the fabric. Too much hand help produces irregular stitch length/width. 
Now a straight stitch on one side...

and finally a straight stitch on the other side. 

This produced a pretty nice look. 
Finally, remove the excess stitch and tear on the back.