Friday, November 30, 2018

Features of the Bernina 570 that I love

I am loving my new Bernina 570 and some of the new features that I didn't have on my older machine.

Built in Walking Foot
I used to have to attach a separate apparatus to turn my machine into a dual feed.  It was called the walking foot.  I got used to putting it on and taking it off, but it was hard for a lot of people to get used to raising the presser foot extra high in order to slide it on the machine.  I did use it a lot when I was quilting straight lines and when I was sewing on binding.  The new machine has a lever where the presser foot lever used to be that lowers and engages the walking foot.  The only thing you have to remember is to use a "D" style foot.  It's great that the walking foot is now built into the machine.

Thread cutter
There is a little button that you press when you want to cut the thread and remove your sewing project from the machine.  I don't know yet if I really like it that much better than grabbing a pair of scissors, or than using the cutter on the side of the machine.  But it seems like it will come in handy, so I'll keep using it to get used to it.

Bigger bobbins
OK, this is one of the best features of this machine.  The bobbin is almost twice the size of the older bobbins.  I just know that I'll be able to sew longer without having to worry about winding another bobbin.  The bobbins are also slightly tapered so they can only go in one way into the bobbin case.  No more worries about putting the bobbin in the wrong way.

LED lights
I also love this feature with the bright LED lights right above the work area.  I can ditch my cumbersome light that I used to have to put onto my older machine in order to see better.  Bernina must know that a lot of us are getting older and can't see that well unless we have bright lights.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Giving Thanks

I think I missed something about Friends getting together for Thanksgiving - called Friendsgiving.  I discovered this term when my granddaughter came over for Thanksgiving this year and told us about her celebration with her friends the day before.  The weekend after Thanksgiving, I heard the same term from a 30-ish woman about getting together with her friends.  Does that ever happen to you?  You think you are totally with it, and then you find out there is another parallel reality going on that you had no idea existed.  Oh well, better to find out at some point!

Friendsgiving is a real term. I looked it up on my best source, Google.  Seems like I am only 5 years behind the times.  I LOVE THE NEW TRADITION.  I am thrilled to know that getting together with friends is just as important as staring at your cell phone.  I know that it's important for me. (Not the staring at the cell phone.)

One of my good friends has hosted Thanksgiving for years.  Many of our mutual friends are from out of state and she has gathered all of them up along with other friends who find themselves solo.  This year, she had another dinner on the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It was a delicious enchilada night, using left-over turkey.  What fun it was to get together with a bunch of old friends.  It felt like a real Friendsgiving to me, even though we are decidedly not in our teens, twenties, or thirties!

What was really special was going around the table and telling each other what we were thankful for.  Most of us at the table have been friends for over 25 years, so we know each other pretty well.  But it was still nice to hear the hostess tell us all that she was so thankful for the friends she has and that we were able to get together.  Health, family, and prosperity were all things that we gave thanks for that night.

Thank you to all of my friends and relatives.  I am grateful you are in my life.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Foundation piecing papers

I recently was asked the question about what paper I use for foundation piecing.   I wish it was a straightforward question, with one definitive answer.  But there are so many options on the market nowadays.

I used to use just plain old copy paper (20 to 24 lb) and I would run my templates through my printer at home.  When I was in my heyday of teaching foundation piecing quilt classes, I used to provide the patterns to my students.  Since that was about the only paper that anyone used in those days, it was fine.  The key then, and now too, is that your stitch length MUST be reduced to 1.9 to 2.0 mm.  (Normal is 2.4 to 2.5).  And you must start and stop 1/4" ahead of the beginning and after the ending of your pattern stitch line. 

After a few years, I stumbled into foundation piecing classes taught by Judy Niemeyer .  She provides all of the foundation paper with her patterns.  She uses newsprint paper, which is lighter weight (30 lb) than copy paper.  It tears easier, which is great when you need to remove the papers.  But it also is apt to tear if you have to rip out your seams and resew on the same line.  You can get newsprint paper in various sizes at a well stocked art supply store or from Amazon.    I recommend Blick in both Portland and Seattle.  Carol Doak also sells newsprint foundation papers, and they are readily available in most quilt stores or online.  They come in 8-1/2 " x 11" sheets and are easy to run through your printer and they tear away nicely.

Some manufacturers now make dissolving foundation paper.  Two sellers of these papers come to mind.  Ricky Tims sells a product called stable stuff poly.  He sells it by 8-1/2" x 11" sheets or by the 3' roll.  If you use these to paper piece, you do NOT have to remove the paper when you're done; it dissolves into fibers when the quilt is washed.  Sharon Schamber also sells a similar paper, called Sharon's Secret Foundation.  It comes in a roll that is 19" wide x 5 yards.  These products are quite firm and may be difficult to piece into curved seams, but are excellent for straight sections (think sashing with a lot of little points).  I use the stable stuff poly for almost all of my machine applique.

If you look at embroidery stabilizers at a well stocked retail store, you will find all kinds of dissolving products there too.  Since I haven't used any of the embroidery stabilizers myself,  I can't recommend one over another.

Here's hoping that you find the foundation piecing product that you enjoy the most.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Arizona throw quilt

I made a wall hanging for my sister, who is wintering over in Arizona these days.  Since I had a bunch of left over fabric, I decided to make her a throw quilt as well.  It has all the colors of her wall hanging, plus a few more that looked kind of Southwest style to me.

It was a piecing extravaganza with no idea how it would be put together in the end.  I started with 6" pieces of fabric and made half square triangles .  After these were sewed, cut, and pressed, I added 5-1/2" squares and sewed them in half square triangle method, in the opposite direction as the original half square triangles.  (I should have taken photos, but alas, none exist).  After these were cut apart and pressed, the blocks were all squared up to 4-1/2" squares.  I ended up with quite a pile.  Here's the block.

The blocks were put up on my design wall and moved around until there was a layout that I liked.  I quilted it on my sit down longarm with bright orange thread and used a circle ruler.  I love how bright and fun it ended up.

I hope you like it too.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Artist Show - December 2019 and January 2020

Yippee!  I will be in an upcoming artist show at Second Story Gallery in December 2019 and January 2020.

I exhibited my nest art quilts at Second Story Gallery in Camas, WA a few years ago.  It is a nice gallery in downtown that rotates exhibits once a month and showcases local artists.  If you exhibit there, you can't apply for another exhibit until 3 years have passed.  So when the call for artists for 2019 came around, I asked my small quilt group if they wanted to apply as a group.  They said yes, and we got the call that we were accepted for a 2 month run of our Whisper challenge quilts.

There will be 81 quilts in the show, all 12" x 12".

Too excited for more words!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Lost and Found quilts

I have located a couple of quilts that I didn't have on the list of quilts that I've made.  They weren't in my books of stories about the quilts and pictures.  Somewhere back in my box of old photos, I'm sure there is a picture of them??  Anyway, I made lots of quilts over the years and many of them were for classes that I was teaching.  So, I'm surmising that I must have been in a hurry to produce them for class samples.  Then when I got buried in quilts at the house, I gave a lot of them away to my friends and relatives.  Two of my friends recently came over for lunch and loaned back the quilts that I had given them.  It was all part of the process of gathering up the quilts for the solo show that was held in October.

To my surprise, they both had quilts that I recognized but had no record of!  Of course, neither one had a hanging sleeve, and only one had my signature.  (Sigh).

It was fun seeing all the quilts loaned back to me, and even more fun to see all the people!  I hope you have your quilts spread out among your friends and family too.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Fabrico Markers

I purchased some Fabrico markers for highlighting and shading quilts a few months ago.  One of my friends uses them a lot on her quilts, and since she has won so many top awards, I thought that I should learn how to use them too.  Fabrico markers are a product by Tsukineko, which makes other products that are used by art quilters and paper crafters. I usually use Derwent Inktense pencils with fabric medium to add depth to my quilts, and have written a blog or two about how to use them.  The Inktense pencils are really easy to use and they don't bleed when you use fabric medium.   These markers also do not bleed.

I made a little butterfly quilt and after appliqueing down the pieces to the painted background, I thought that it looked totally flat and fake.  I wasn't trying to make a realistic butterfly, per se, but I wanted to make it look less like a cartoon character.  I used the markers and found them easy to apply, but I had to go over the area a few times to be able to see the shading.

Here is the picture of the little quilt before and after the shading, but before the quilting.  It's faint for sure.  You can see it more on the body than on the wings.

I hope you try new products too.