Record Fast

My sister in law came to quilt today, so I thought I’d take a couple of pictures of the process and share what it’s like to use a long arm machine.

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This is the quilt when it is first loaded on the machine. This is the reason you need the back of the quilt and the batting to be larger.  The front will lie on them, and may travel as you quilt it. The extra space keeps you save from going off of the edge.

Using the Long Arm

Isn’t her quilt magnificent? It is Moda’s Nest Fabric, with nesting stars.  I may have died of cuteness, but then I wouldn’t have been able to help her use the machine.  She is an unusually fast stippler. This is a large, king sized quilt, and she stippled it in less than five hours. If you are thinking you can do that, I would pause and try it first. I am pretty sure I could not do it that speed, and I’ve had a lot of practice.  That is the fastest I’ve seen one done on this machine.

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I love that she hand stitched a little inscription here. Always sign your work, friends.

 

IMG_6487This is what the edges of the quilt look like when it comes off of the long arm machine. The quilt is ready to be trimmed, and then bound. There is a line of stitching around three sides of the quilt, and the fourth side is basted together. I always trim these edges so the stitching will be inside of the quilt binding. Up in the corner of the photo is a non matching scrap I used to test tension. That’s the other reason you need the backing and the batting to be bigger.  Long arm machines need the tension adjusted if there are variances between sizes of battings, threads, etc.

Any questions? Shoot me an email, or comment.

Next Project – Great Grandma’s Double Wedding Ring Quilt

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I don’t know the entire story of this quilt, and it fills me with questions. How old was my great grandma when she  made it? How long did it take her? Where did she get all of this wild fabric?  I feel like my grandma may have said the fabrics were her old shirts and dresses at one point. I called Grandma this week to ask her some details about the border, which was sewn on by machine. I thought she told me once that she sewed the border on, but I can’t remember now, and she can’t either.
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There are a few things I do know about this top.

1. It’s very colorful and mismatchy.

2. I like it a lot.

3. The pattern is called a double wedding ring.

4. Double wedding rings are very hard to sew.

5. It was pieced probably before I was born, and all by hand.

6. It sat in my Grandma’s closet for a long time.

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I think the quilt came to me with very interesting timing. It started like this. My sister in law loves quilting  and family history. A few years ago, she gave me a miniature double wedding ring template for my birthday. The template is acrylic, so I could cut the pieces with my rotary cutter. I thought that to start I would try making a 3 ring oversized hot pad for my mom for Christmas.

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By the time I was done mangling my three ring hot pad into existence, I realized that I don’t have the skill level to make a full wedding ring quilt—much less a miniature one! I decided that if I tried it again, it would be with a teacher and a class.

While I was still finishing my wrinkly piece of mischief, my mom and grandma were cleaning out a closet, and found this top and gave it to me. I decided that if our ancestors are watching over us, Great Grandma was watching over me, waiting for me to try a wedding ring quilt so I would not judge her craftsmanship.

It’s not perfect, but it is whole. I am so glad it came to me. It took me two years to get up the patience to think I could hand quilt it, but I have got it basted and ready now. I took these pictures to chronicle the hand work inside, because that is one treasures of this quilt that will be hidden once it is quilted.

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Binding my Quiet Book

Right now I am working on binding my book. I was going to sew the pages right-sides together and then turn them inside out, but someone mentioned using normal binding for them. I have so many scraps of binding, and I love scrappy-looking anything, so I am binding.

qb rings

I bought some 2″ book rings, and tent/tarp grommets, and went to work. I have a few notes for if I ever work with grommets again:

* The hole punch that came with my grommets didn’t work on a cutting mat, but a scrap of carpet or felt underneath helped it make a small cut. Then I used scissors to finish the hole.

* Hammer lightly at first, and be careful to hold the top applicator straight at a 90 degree angle. I hammered really hard at first, and the grommet edge cut the fabric edges around them. I recommend trying a few test ones before doing it on the actual product.

* Half inch grommets are pretty big, but for 12″ pages with brightly colored binding, it doesn’t look too bad. I would like to check a hardware store next time. I just ordered them on Amazon this time.

* If I make another book I might also try reinforced button holes. You sew the buttonhole like normal, except include a small piece of cord that gets sewn into the satin-stitched edge of the hole. I only know about these from the classes that came with my sewing machine. I love those Bernina people.

Quiet Book Start + Pinterest + A Finish

I have started a quiet book for my kids. I started simple, so I wouldn’t feel overwhelmed and could achieve a sense of accomplishment without actually doing very much.

denim pocket page

This denim pocket page will hold a notebook and pencil for little notes, and I was thinking it would be fun to put a mailbox page next to it, so the kids can write a note and then mail it.

I started a pinboard for quiet book pages, so if anyone has anything fabulous, shoot me a link. (stitchhack at gmail.com) If you are also a pinterest junkie, HERE is my slowly growing spectacular sewing page, too.

under the sea page 1

These fish and the seahorse will be for an Under the Sea themed page. The fish will have velcro. I am still brainstorming on whether there are other ways to make that page interactive or if I should just velcro it all.

flower pot hot pad

In very shocking news, I have actually, finally, miraculously Finished Something! This was actually a UFO for more than a year. When I was president of my local quilt guild I joined the state guild, which included a newsletter. There was a block of the month in the newsletter that included this paper pieced potted flower one month. I love paper piecing because of the scraps it uses up. (We won’t talk about all the wasting. No, we won’t.)

I decided not to make the whole quilt, but this block made a great casserole-size hot pad, which someone on my list has requested for Christmas.

It is so nice to start checking things off of my list this early. Last year my sister had a crazy, horrible accident late in September where she cut her fingers off, and gave birth at the end of the re-attachment surgery. She and I spent the rest of the year working on recovering as she took care of her newborn baby. Also, I was pregnant at the time. And Christmas just sort of took the back-burner, and then got burned on the stove, if we want to take the metaphor way too far.

Anyway, here is to a Happy Holiday Season to all this year!

WIP Wednesday

This is my first time trying WIP Wednesday, after watching it on a few of my favorite blogs for awhile. Thanks for doing it, Lee!

I helped a friend sew some costumes awhile back, and she gave me a little photo book as thanks with a sweet quote about sewing on the front, so one of my WIPs is this little book:

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Keeping a history of my quilts was also inspired by my grandmother, who hand quilted for many years and did over a thousand quilts. I calculated that out, and it is one a week for over 37 years. She is 80+, so I believe, even though that is an incredulous number. I was also inspired by Elizabeth at Occasional Piece and Quilt. You can see her progress on a quilt journal today on WIP Wednesday, too!

Below is the flimsy for an aloha quilt I started a couple of days ago. Sometimes it is nice to just sew squares together. Especially if someone else cut them out, and sold them to your best friend for $2 at the swap meet on Oahu. I often feel like I get nothing done lately, but this is coming together in no time.

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I’m also still working on the block of the month for quilt guild, and added a yellow block. I am a few months behind, but maybe now that school has started I will catch up.

rainbow blocks

I’m excited to go see some more works in progress, check them out at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced