Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A bit of 'do-it-yourself'

At long last I've sorted out my sewing space. Years ago, when living in India, I had a local carpenter make a sewing table for me with a cut out section to fit a small Singer machine. Since then I've upgraded my machines 3 times but never got round to having the cut out enlarged. Buying the monster Janome was the final straw and the table has languished in my garage since then. After struggling for far too long I decided enough was enough. With my trusty electric drill and mini saw I set to work (not the ideal tools) and it now fits perfectly onto my machine. It's a bit messy at the edges but my supreme slider hides the worst. Who needs to buy an expensive table when you can 'do-it-yourself'?

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Reverse Quilting!

I suppose this is what you call 'reverse quilting'. All done and only one band aid required ( I got a bit carried away at one point and found out that a blunt rotary cutter can still be lethal).
Now to rethink my quilting strategy...

Speed Unpicking With a Rotary Cutter!

This is for anyone who has machine quilted an entire quilt, made a mess of it and then spent weeks trying to unpick the stitches... 

I made this quilt top for my son 3 years ago and it's been sitting in my UFO cupboard for two years following two unsuccessful attempts to machine quilt it. I've always hand quilted large quilts before and this was the first time I'd machine quilted something so big. I first used a domestic machine but wasn't happy with the result and unpicked the lot in the conventional way (it took weeks). Then I had a go on a friend's long arm machine which was even worse and so put the quilt away rather than face unpicking it for a second time.
But browsing the net today I found a clever and speedy way to unpick a quilt in hours rather than weeks using a ROTARY CUTTER...

Turn the quilt over to the back and lay it on a large flat surface. Take a blunt rotary cutter (one that you keep for paper cutting etc) and angle it down towards the batting. At the same time pull the backing away from the batting to reveal the stitches. Press the rotary cutter down onto the stitches and into the batting, making sure not to cut the the backing fabric. Keep pulling the backing back as you cut the stitches. Work across the whole of the quilt rather than one line of stitches. It's like taking the skin off a fish!
I did the whole quilt in just over an hour and removed the little threads from the top using a piece of masking tape.
This must be the quilting tip of the year!

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Pigs Can Fly!

I never thought I would see the day when my daughter sat down and used a sewing machine...
But she asked if she could have a go at free motion quilting today and even though it was her first time EVER on a sewing machine she managed to catch on in about 2 minutes!
I wondered how she picked it up so quickly but realised that it's probably because she had never done straight stitching before that it came naturally to her. Most of us had to 'forget' how to sew in the conventional way when switching to free motion. Now I'll have to show her how to bind it...

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Home From AQC

Just got back from a fantastic five days in Melbourne at the Australasian Quilt Convention. Our group of Seven did four days of workshops, attended a welcome cocktail party, two evening talks and a gala dinner. Somehow two of us squeezed in an hour seminar with jinny Beyer too!
Added to that, three of us had quilts on show representing WA and another friend flew in for the gala dinner to receive the Lut-Da Award for community service through quilting. It was exhausting!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Ruler Work

How exciting that domestic sewing machine quilters can at last work with rulers!
I saw Patsy Thompson's great video on using rulers recently and was so impressed that I went straight out to buy the ruler foot for my Horizon. Next stop was to purchase of a set of Handiquilter curves and a straight edge. Needless to say they have sat in my cupboard for a couple of months until I decided to have a go today.
Here's my first attempt and I can't believe the potential there is to create some stunning designs and so quick to do too. I didn't really take care to have the area marked out properly as I just wanted to play and my bubbles are a bit rough as I didn't bother to take the ruler foot off to do them, so visibility was poor. 
I highly recommend Patsy Thompson's videos and blog as they really are inspirational...

Patsy Thompson ruler video   (scroll down through her blog post to get to the video)

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Screen Printing

Getting ready for a textile painting workshop in Melbourne next week and I wanted to take a small silk screen with me to practice printing. All the ready made screens were expensive so I decided to have a go at making my own mini screen. 

I bought a small art canvas from a cheap shop (one with the wooden frame behind) for $4, some sheer man made material (no idea what it is) in a remnant box for a few dollars (have enough to make 10 screens) and some duct tape. 

I cut the canvas off the wood frame and stretched the sheer fabric tightly over (I used a staple gun but for a quick fix the duct tape would hold it).

Then I covered the frame with duct tape, taking the tape slightly over where the sheer fabric and frame meet at the back and front. 


I'll let you know if this works...

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The best sewing space!

Spent a lovely week away in Denmark (WA) and took some pesky hexagons with me. The view was so lovely and the veranda so peaceful, that I actually quite enjoyed sewing them for a change....of course I didn't want to come home and the hexagons have gone back in the UFO drawer!