Sunday, January 27, 2013


My quilt is taking another detour even as I’m getting the hang of sewing accurate seam allowances. A few of the blocks are off an 1/8” but I’m not wearing out the seam ripper as all of the fabric strips were cut on the crosswise grain and along with that comes some built in stretch. Welcome compensation for any of my cutting, sewing, or pressing gaffes.

I love the blast of colors. However, in no way do they represent the Little Red Riding Hood pillow. Click-happy on, I introduced several other colors not found in my pillow. If the cotton prints didn’t have spaceships or ducks, and the price was reduced to six dollars or less a yard, I considered adding it to my cart. That is how the oranges, purples and pinks got invited. I know my fabrics do not coordinate. It was intentional.

I’m to the point where I need to consider how to join the blocks so they can be easily quilted. First off, there is a serious size change. Eventually the entire quilt gets sewn together on the machine. Struggling with a king-size quilt while learning a new technique is perhaps overly ambitious. So the plan has changed from king-size to a twin and its gonna be okay.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Yes. Better, thank you.

Glad I tried again. Two things made the difference. One, I caved and purchased a generic Bernina quilting foot, #57, from eBay. I tried to find a real Bernina #57, but no luck. This one works just fine. Take a look at the right side of the foot. See that little guide? It helps to keep the seam consistent. Moving the needle to the right one notch was the other important adjustment.

Since I stitched the test block, I have been thinking about how the quilt might look. No doubt, there are many ways to audition a quilt pattern. I let Microsoft Excel guide me. I changed the cells in the worksheet to be 30 pixels wide and 30 pixels tall. Using each cell for one inch, I colored in the cells, replicating the log cabin strips. Then it was just a matter of copy and paste to see the whole quilt.

Viewing Kaffe Fasset’s Target Log Cabin Quilt pattern on the Excel screen in bright colors was dizzying and not in a good way. Way too busy. I removed the sashing strips and liked it much better. So, that is what I’m going with. Oh, and another big change – I decided I wanted all of the strips to be random. No rings of color. Just random…and without regard for light and dark. The strip that gets used for the next row is the strip I grab from the pile, unless, of course, that fabric is already represented in the block.

I am utilizing very simple piecing as I know I need practice getting the seam allowances correct. Also, I'm squaring-up each round, not waiting until the block is complete. It matters.

While cutting the 1 ½” strips, I noticed a few of the prints were printed off-grain. I chose to use them anyway. Eh, I’ll leave them for now and see if they still bug me when I get closer to quilting.

So far, all that has been purchased specifically for this project, other than the fabric, batting and thread, is the 12 ½” square-up ruler and the quilting foot. If I tried, I probably could manage without either but I do like having them.

I have to tell you there is an incredible amount of interesting quilting out there. I stumbled across this Sandra Bruce interview and can’t get her quilt out of my head: Amazing. I want to try this. Not today and not tomorrow, but this technique is calling my name.

For the record, I sewed another pair of the Style Arc Linda pants. This time in a black stretch cotton mixed with some stretchy mystery fiber. Nice fabric, just don't know what it is. I absolutely love this pattern. Perfectly comfortable. Hope this pattern company sticks around.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Block Testing

The backing fabric hasn’t made it here yet. Not a problem as I decided a test block and sashing needed to happen before I start layering and machine quilting.

Take a look and you can see testing was a wise choice as the block, as sewn, does not fill out the 12 ½” square-up quilting ruler (see below). Using the edge of the Bernina 000 straight/zig-zag presser foot for a seam guide wasn’t clever, especially when you consider that I’d read in more than one place the importance of the scant ¼” quilting seam allowance…

Before I drop in on eBay for a proper quilting foot, I want to try moving the needle from the center just a hair. Whatever method I end up using, I need to get the block to 12 ½” before I move forward. Otherwise, those sashing pieces aren’t going to fit…

Sunday, January 13, 2013


My mother gave me this Little Red Riding Hood pillow many years ago. My paternal grandmother put it together and I have always  loved it. It’s a no-brainer to say that this pillow influenced my choices while visiting this week. Yes, the prints are random, and that was on purpose. Nothing too matchy-matchy for this one, thank you very much. Other prints will come later as I find them.

Since I’m going to quilt as I go, I realized that I cannot put off purchasing the backing fabric until the end. That meant another trip to and many yards of a green floral print purchased – haven’t received it yet.

I also purchased the cotton batting (at Joann’s and 50% off, yeppers!) and ordered two quilting books from One is Machine Quilting in Sections, by Marti Michell. I’m hoping it will provide sound advice for this quilt-as-you-go deal. The other is a used copy of Glorious Patchwork: More Than 25Glorious Quilt Designs, written by Kaffe Fassett with Liza Prior Lucy. I’m looking forward to receiving them. And thread... can't forget thread. I got two cones of 100% cotton machine quilting thread from Everywhere I read that one should use a cotton/polyester thread for machine quilting.  However, everything else is my quilt is cotton. I'd like the thread to be cotton too. But maybe it will need some polyester strength. We'll see...

In choosing a pattern for the quilt, I’m leaning towards a modified Stamps and Money from Kaffee Fasset’s book mentioned above or the Target Log Cabin from his Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts book (borrowed from the library).  

Make it a wonderful week!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Yeah, This was Fun…

A few days after Christmas, I signed up for the free Craftsy Block of the Month 2012 class. Curious about Craftsy but with no intention of sewing the quilt, I let the lessons play one after the other as I packed up Christmas. When the instructor, Amy Gibson, mentioned free motion quilting, I had to find out more and bounced around the internet looking for information. The biggest contradiction involved sewing with the feed dogs up or with the feed dogs down. 

I’d never tried free motion quilting before and couldn’t let it rest. I pulled out my box of cotton fabric, cut two squares and found a piece of batting to sandwich in between. Next, I attached the darning foot to the Bernina and (gasp!) left the feed dogs up. It worked just fine! No special thread. No special machine settings. No special anything

Now don’t be critical of my sample. I spent about twenty minutes from start to finish which included the binding technique from the class. This free motion quilting is scribbling with thread. Addicting, I tell you…Why haven't I tried this before?

I want to make a quilt. One that is sewn and quilted in sections and entirely by machine. No hand sewing if I can help it…I have no idea of how I want it to look. The only requirement is that it fit my bed.

By the way, I have been sewing clothing. Just hate taking hanger shots. More TNT and much needed.

Admit it - you want to make a quilt too….