Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Appliqué on the frame

Here's a tutorial for a fun technique we used on our Valentine Postcards project. My daughter Rosie will be showing you a way to raw edge appliqué directly on the quilt while it's loaded on the frame.

First, find a space.

Next, cut out a heart from some fabric and just lay it in position. We're going to use a fine sparkly netting to hold the heart in place.

Here you can see Rosie cutting out the netting. We found that the sewing machine foot would sometimes get caught up in pointy bits of the netting, so Rosie is cutting the netting in a rounded circular shape. We found that this worked best. We could go back later and trim the netting if we wanted to.

Then Rosie stitched around the heart shape. The first outline was the trickiest. Rosie is using a red Metallic thread from Superior Threads. It added an extra sparkle to the project.

But once the netting was stitched in place, it was easy to continue stitching round the heart and adding scallops or whatever.

This was Rosie's very first effort at raw edge appliqué. Doing the appliqué directly on the frame made it fast and easy. We think that the end result looked really pretty! We can't wait to try it again with perhaps leaves and flowers for Spring or eggs for Easter.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Hemming Jeans

I find it hard to interrupt quilting projects and do mundane tasks like hemming jeans. But the jeans that I'm taking to Moscow were too long and needed hemming.

The JUKI Exceed 600 sewing machine has an amazing box feed system. I already love this machine for the lovely-straight-no-pucker-seams that it sews when I'm piecing.

 This is due to the industrial type box feeding system that moves the fabric under the pressure foot. Well this industrial Box Feed also tackles bulky seams with no problems! Hemming the jeans gave me another reason to love my JUKI Exceed 600. 

While I'm on the topic, I'll share an email from Anita in Canada. Anita and I attended a Superior Threads Seminar together a couple of years ago.Last September she emailed me with some questions about the new JUKI Exceed sewing machines.
Good morning Martha!

Although we both attended the School of Threadology at the same time, I never took the opportunity to chat. But I follow your blog (even though I quilt sitting down on my Juki TL-98Q!) and enjoy it thoroughly.

Since you mentioned the Exceed F600 a few posts back I have checked out the specs etc on the web, and it looks like there are more features than on my Bernina 440. I am interested, as I absolutely love the Juki 98. The only problem being that there are none to be had or tried out anywhere near me. I can order from a shop in Western Canada, and that looks like it will eventually be my option. 

I see that you like it for piecing, but have you any experience with the decorative end of things? I enjoy machine applique, and note that there are more useable (and funkier!) stitches plus a width of 7mm, satin stitch tapering from both sides.  If you have any comments etc. concerning this machine could you drop me a note when you have the time? I would appreciate it, as it is difficult deciding without the opportunity to try it. But based on my experience with the 98 I probably wouldn't hesitate.
Anita emailed back recently to tell me some good news. I've included the links to her blog. It's always nice to read other people's reviews.

Hello Martha!

Just a quick note to say that Yes! I did buy the Juki 600 - thanks for your comments while I was researching. So far so good - great machine for the price, but the decorative stitches are what I bought it for and they are wonderful.
A few weeks after I got mine a friend tried it out and immediately ordered hers!
Hopefully these new machines will keep us out of trouble for a while!
Anita Zobens
Certified "Superior Threads" Educator

Friday, 24 February 2012

Spread the Love

Emily took some time out from our preparations for the Moscow trip to set up a Facebook page for us yesterday. It's well cool! So please spread the love and like us on Facebook!

After you like our page, you can do the following:
- see our Wall for the latest news
- see all of our YouTube clips to date
- see photo albums of our frames, the Team, and all of our exploits around the globe!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Valentine Postcards

 Here's a section of my  machine quilted  post card fabric panel just off the 4 foot Art Quilter frame. To keep the postcards light weight, I skipped the batting and only used two layers. So perhaps this project comes more under the free-motion embroidery heading. The exciting thing is that the line between machine quilting and free-motion embroidery is fast disappearing. The Art Quilter frames are fantastic for anyone who wants to draw with the needle.  

Rosie, my clever daughter, designed these post cards using computer graphics. We printed them on card and used my dull rotary cutter to cut them out. Then using my good sharp cutter we cut the fabric to fit the postcards...

...and zig-zagged around the edges on the JUKI Exceed 600. The titanium coated Topstitch needle from Superior Threads easily stitched through the fabric and card. Then we wrote on the back and popped them in the post. 

The post mistress thought that our Valentine postcards  looked lovely. This was so much fun that we'll be making more! There are lots of other excuses for a postcard. We could create postcards for all sorts of special occasions. Birthdays, Spring, Easter, the list goes on...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Working Backwards

For this project, I've been working backwards. Most of the time we start with the piecing and then figure out a quilting pattern that will bring out the best of it. This time, I started with the quilting and tried to come up with a piecing pattern that would set it off.

I've been working on a Valentine's Day post card project. I wanted to use lots of different threads and stitches to create a quilted panel which would then be cut up and stitched to post cards. So the goal of the piecing was to create a good backdrop for the quilting patterns. Creating a little 'crazy quilt' to fit on my 4 foot Art Quilter frame which would then be cut up into the post cards was much quicker than doing the cards one by one at the sewing machine.

Once the 'crazy patchwork; panel was on the frame, I began quilting playing with lots of different threads and line designs. I was free to treat all the various sections of the top differently because I'm going to cut them up in the end for lots of different post cards. I'll show some of the completed post cards tomorrow. I'll also post a little tutorial for machine appliquéd hearts on the Art Quilter frame.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Snow White Rose Red

It's been a snowy week. The children are happy!

We've had some lovely walks in the fields behind our house.

I've been working on a little project that has me rooting through all my red and white scraps.  I was piecing on the JUKI Exceed 600, a machine that I love more and more each time that I use it. Because some of the pieces were quite narrow, I needed a smaller than usual seam allowance. Between the box feeding system and the great viability from the see through foot it was easy to get thin straight seams.

It's all come together quite nicely and now it's on the frame...I'll post more tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Moscow in March

JUKI Central Europe has invited Emily and I to give a machine quilting Seminar at a Handi-craft Show in Moscow! We're shipping our 4 and 6 foot Art Quilter frames to go with the JUKI TL98-P and JUKI Exceed 600 sewing machines. So tonight we are watching the snow here in England and thinking about the snow in Moscow. Yesterday, I met Emily in London to apply for our Russian Visas. Everything went smoothly and our Visas are coming soon.We are so excited to be going to Moscow!

The Craft & Hobby Formula Show is set for the beginning of March. This year's main event will be Patchwork. We'll make sure there is some machine quilting too!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Girls and Horses

What is it about girls and horses?!You can see that my daughter Ellie is totally smitten with this pony named Lady. Ellie's been horse mad since she was three so I have a nice collection of horse themed fabric in my stash.

We wanted to make a horse table runner for Lady's owner. We kept it simple. Ellie pieced some strips of fabric together. We loaded it on the 6 foot Art Quilter frame with some brown fleece underneath. 

I quilted this hearts and loops pattern with a MasterPiece # 159 Paint Brush.I've used this photo to show the quilting pattern but the brown thread on the various shades of brown in the pieced runner was intended to blend in and create a pleasing texture. In this project, I didn't want to get in the way of the fabric.

Here it is on the 6 foot Art Quilter frame. Below shows the more subtle quilting. The quilting was completed in about 20 minutes.

Putting on the binding took so much longer!

Here it is with Ellie's horse collection for a quick photo shoot before we gave it to Lady's lovely owner.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Thread Stands

Just after I finished the post yesterday, I read the Superior Threads Newsletter and saw the photo of this innovative new thread stand. Then I had a peek at the short video clip. Heather also known as 'Mother Superior' demonstrates how to use the thread stand and explains why we need to. It packs a lot of information in a short clip.Excellent threaducation! It is such a good explanation of cross wound cones that I had to include it here. It is definitely worth the two minutes viewing time! We'll be including these thread stands in our next order so they will be available here in the UK and in Europe.