Last Week’s Playtime

April 30th, 2015



This is all ruler work:




This is what it looked like before hyperquilting:





I ended up leaving the small arc shapes without any hyperquilting because it seemed more interesting:




Latest Playing Around

April 20th, 2015
I am really becoming a terrible blogger and it is not intentional!  I’m going to just start posting some shots of quilting I’ve done without any text just to get something up on this blog!  Here’s some fun I had last week:
Playing with rulers has breathed new life into my quilting.  I am having more fun than I’ve had in years!

Free Motion Quilting and Machine Embroidery Applique

April 14th, 2015



MEA and free motion quilting are 2 parts of quilting that I love.  What I love even more is putting them together because then it’s possible to create very rich textures and dimension on my quilts.  I tend to have many projects going at any given time and it’s easy for me to intend to do something but have it get lost in the shuffle because I have so many projects already going on.  I am happy to say that I have finally tried a new technique for me that I’ve meant to play with for a few years but never got around to it.  This involves creating MEA blocks on the embroidery machine and then free motion quilting them, but what’s different this time is that I used wool and various blended natural fiber felts for my applique shapes.  This creates an over-the-top texture once it’s quilted.   My photos don’t do this justice but here’s a shot of an 18 1/2 in square block that will become the front of a pillow:



You might get a little better sense of the texture in this tangential shot:



…or maybe not!  This is one of those times where I really wish you could reach through the computer screen to see/touch this because the photos really just don’t show the texture well.  In truth, the texture was kind of blowing me away throughout the entire process of making this block.  Here’s a shot of part of the block as I’d just positioned some of the felt pieces on it.  There is no embroidery at this point:



Now check out how much dimension there is after embroidery but before quilting:



(My heart was beating  a lot faster once I got to that point!)  I couldn’t help but go for a little more texture so I added a trapunto layer to the quilted motif in the center.  Here’s what the backside looked like once I’d cut away extra stabilizer and excess batting (aka right before it went into the final quilt sandwich):



All of the various pieces of applique were first outlined with invisible thread, as was the center motif that was trapuntoed.  Then I added those 4 curved arc structures using the Westalee Ruler foot on my Pfaff sewing machine.  I haven’t had much time to play with this foot yet, but from my limited time with it, I have to say that I fell in love with it!  I hyperquilted the feathers inside those arcs:



…and then quilted the feathers in the outer zones.  I am now hooked on the texture that comes with using wool and felts.  I have a bunch of the bamboo/rayon felt that National Nonwovens put out many years ago and I guess I need to get my act in gear and finally dye that stuff up!



I Had to Try It!

April 5th, 2015
If you have followed my blog for awhile, then you’ve probably been waiting for  a post about modifying the Janome ruler foot into an open toe foot for ruler work.  It’s been on my “to-do” list for months but we just now got around to trying it!  I am happy to say that it was very easy to do and works like a charm as an open toe foot.  We could have removed more material than we did, but I wanted my first attempt to be conservative.  (We’ll be more bold on the NEXT foot we modify, and there will be a NEXT foot!!)  With the modification we did, I can actually use all 4 sides of my foot, even running the ruler directly across the opening without causing any distortion of the foot or of the stitched line.  This is because I left my opening fairly small, but the next foot we cut into will have a larger opening so we can test the limits of this modification.
To do this, mount the foot on your machine and then using  a Sharpie marker, mark where the center of the foot is and how wide you want the opening to be.  In my case, I deliberately cut my slit just a tad to the right of center, because I am less likely to have my ruler on that side.  Here’s a shot of my pre-marked foot:
Load your Dremel tool with the “Cut-Off Wheel” as shown below:
Mount the ruler toe into a vice to hold it steady during cutting:
And next you start cutting.  This cut very, very quickly and did not distort the symmetry of the foot at all (this was one of my worries pre-procedure.)  And here it is mounted on my Pfaff:
 I can now SEE my needle and pull my thread tails out of the way.  I am one happy girl, thanks again to a very nice and talented husband!


April 2nd, 2015
I can’t begin to describe how thrilling it is to watch as a new block design is being stitched out for the very first time!  Seeing the layout and all the special stitching literally come to life in front of your eyes is mind-blowing for me.  Here’s a little slice of what I got to watch unfold in front of me over the last couple days.  First up is after the first hooping:
…and I got even more excited when I saw how it looked after the 2nd hooping:
And here was the scene after the 3rd hooping:
And this next one is after the fourth and fifth  hoopings:
Pretty colorful, huh?  The last 2 hoopings were adding the 3 tail feathers onto each bird.  Here’s hooping 6:
Arghh!!  My photo of the finished block came out really weird!  Dang!  I’ll get some new photos once I have daylight again and I’ll post them later.  I think I only need to make a couple changes and then this block will be done!  Love, love, love how it’s coming out!