Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Collection and Free Workshop

Ann with a machine embroidery sample
Ann came for a free demo 4 weeks ago.  Today she and her husband Dave came back to collect her new 6 foot New English Quilter frame and get a free workshop. I asked Ann to bring some of her projects.

Ann with her quilt and her husband Dave
Ann's been a seamstress since she was very young and she makes just about anything from wedding gowns to waistcoats, cushions to quilts. Ann noticed our New English Quilting frame just as she was leaving the Festival of Quilts this summer. So she rang to arrange a personal demonstration. Ann was excited about the kind of projects she would be able to complete with a machine quilting frame

A detail of Ann's machine embroidery
She already had a suitable sewing machine so all she really needed was the frame and a set of Nifty Grips to fit. Ann's husband is handy so he was able to adapt a table to be just the right height for Ann to quilt in comfort.
1950s pre-printed fabric perfect for a FMQ practice piece on the quilting frame
 Being a seamstress gives Ann quite a head-start as a beginning quilter. Ann's already sewing machine savvy, with years of experience and expertise that will get her get quickly up and running with her new frame.

Ann and her husband Dave - what a handsome couple 
I really enjoy it when people come to collect their frames. We had fun talking about kids and movies, places in our past and projects for the future. I can't wait to see the kind of projects that Ann will accomplish with her new machine quilting frame.

They still have the same smile!
 This final shot is to show just how easily everything fits in the car. Ann can't wait to get started!

6 foot New English Quilter frame and Nifty Grips easily fits in the boot.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Epilogue or Rosie's Room

I love the way the light travels across a quilt
Here are some photos of the finishing touches to the purple pumpkin seed project.  It's satisfying to see the quilt on it's final resting place in Rosie's room.
Here's the side sashing getting ready to go
rotary cutting away the side sashing
I used a stripy white fabric for the binding
The quilt in Rosie's room
it fits just right
Rosie was so happy!
keeping the colours simple makes the tiny room look larger

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Happy Endings

Emily started with the feathers
first down one side of the 'seed'  then up the other
Emily is left-handed and uses her left hand under the arm to guide the machine
notice the scalloping on the inside of the purple 'seeds'
A view of the first half of the final border feather
finishing the last half of the feather
machine quilting detail
As we come to the final feather I want you to look back at the last 3 pictures and notice how the pins stick up. This is why we pinned the quilt top to the BACK of the 2nd leader on fabric pole #2. Pinning to the back makes the pinned seam stick up so that Emily wont stitch the quilt to the leader fabric by mistake.

notice the hand's width of space available at the end
 This is a single bed quilt and we've loaded it on the frame so that we are only quilting through the width of the quilt. Our goal is to keep the roll of fabric under the arm of the sewing machine as small as possible. At the end of the quilting, Emily still has a hand's width of space available to quilt. So, if Emily keeps her quilt patterns to a hand's width through out the whole quilt, she will be able to keep the scale of the pattern consistent from the start of the quilting to the end.

feathers create such beautiful un-quilted space
throwing the un pinned quilt over the frame for a photo finish
Emily is so happy with her finished quilt. 
Rosie is going to be happy too!!

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Pinning the Purple Pumpkin Seed Quilt

a three layer quilt sandwich on the New English Quilter frame
This post features a new pinning method not yet in our New English Quilter Handbook. I've been demonstrating this pinning method to our customers coming to collect their New English Quilter frames. So I thought it would be good to have a pinning tutorial to refer back to.

The ratchet ends of the fabric poles are labelled 1, 2 and 3
Notice that the ratchet ends of the fabric poles are labelled 1, 2 and 3.

a side view of the numbered fabric poles
Intro:  The first fabric pole is closest to you as you stand by the sewing machine. The second is in the middle. And the third is farthest away from you. Each layer of your quilt sandwich will be pinned to the first leader on fabric pole #1. The other end of the backing fabric will be pinned to the third leader on fabric pole #3. The other end of the quilt top will be pinned to the second leader on fabric pole #2. The wadding will only be pinned to the first leader, then it will go over the backing fabric and under the quilt top and hang down the back of the frame. Before you start, for ease of pinning,  I suggest taking off the sewing machine and the carriages and putting them to one side out of the way. 

Bring fabric pole #3 to the front of the table.
1.With this new pinning method, the last shall be first! We begin with the 3rd fabric pole. Leaning over the frame to pin onto this 3rd leader makes my back sore!! This new method is much easier to do and kinder to my back. Take the 3rd fabric pole off the frame and bring it forward to the front of the table. Keep the ratchet end to the right of you and notice that the leader fabric is coming OVER the TOP of the fabric pole. 

Butting the two ends together, pin to the back side of the 3rd leader
Loading a quilt sandwich on the frame is a centring process. Hold your backing fabric so that the right side is facing downward. Now find the centre of your backing fabric and match it to the centre mark on the BACK of the third leader. You're going to butt the two ends together and pin from the centre outwards.Carry on pinning all the way to the end. I usually use a safety pin at the end. 

I use a safety pin for the last pin here
The frame tension can sometimes bend the straight pins but the safety pin is strong enough to cope without getting bent out of shape.

pinning the backing fabric while sitting down at the table
If it's more comfortable, another option is to do the pinning sitting down at a table. Just remember to keep the ratchet end of the fabric pole to your right and make sure that you've got the leader fabric coming over the top of the pole. Now drop your 3rd fabric pole back on the frame, in the slot furthest away from you. It will look like this. You have finished step one!

the backing fabric is pinned to the 3rd leader
2.  Now for step two. First take the 2nd fabric pole off the frame and put it to one side out of the way. We'll come back to that pole later. Now pull the backing fabric from the 3rd pole forward to the first fabric pole. Find the centre and pin it to the centre mark stitched on the leader fabric, This time you pin to the TOP of the leader, aligning the backing fabric to the stitched line on your leader, just like in the photo below.

find the centre and pin along the stitched line
 Pin from the centre all the way to both ends.

pin to the end and finish with a safety pin
Now tighten your frame tension and you will have made a platform with your backing fabric, like this...

pull the backing fabric forward and pin it to the first leader to make a platform
 Now take your wadding and throw it over the back of your frame.

throw your wadding over your frame so it falls down the back
centre it , smooth it out and pin it
stagger the layers about a finger's width
Notice how the layers are staggered just a bit so you can still see the pins from the first backing layer. Good, now you have finished the 2nd step. 

3Now you will pin the top. Go find the 2nd fabric pole, You are going to pin the back of the quilt top to this 2nd fabric pole. Treat this the same way as the 3rd pole. You can pull this pole forward or sit down at the table, remember to keep the ratchet end on your right but this time the fabric goes under the pole.  Find the centre, butt the ends together and pin to the back of the leader, starting in the centre and pinning toward both ends. When you're finished, drop the pole back in the frame. Now pull the quilt top toward the first leader, over the platform made by the first two layers. Once again leave a finger's width of space and then pin in place finishing with a safety pin at both ends.

All the layers of the quilt sandwich pinned to the first leader

the centre marking helps to centre your fabric layers
Once all the layers are loaded on the frame put the carriages back on the tracks and take the first fabric pole off the frame and slip it through the arm of the sewing machine and through the slots on the side arms.

Slip the first fabric pole back under the arm of the sewing machine
 Now you are ready to roll!

The fully loaded frame.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Swan Song

Geneva, Switzerland from the sky
Emily's heading off for a term in Geneva, Switzerland. They speak French in Geneva and Emily will be taking courses at the University there in French language and translation. Very exciting! But before heading off to foreign parts Emily quilted Rosie's 'Purple Pumpkin Seed' quilt.

This Juki Exceed 600 was perfect for the appliqué and piecing 

We've been busy collecting the fabric and appliquéing the pumpkin seed shapes, and piecing the blocks together. I ordered some White Sew Simple Super Soft  Cotton wadding from Doughty's online shop and some classic purple gingham for the backing. But now we were ready to get it all loaded on the frame and get quilting.

pinning detail - all layers of the quilt pinned to the first leader
We'd been playing around with quilting ideas for months on various bits of paper. But in the end we chose a scallop pattern to quilt round the inside of each seed and a feather to fill the square.

quilting design doodles
Then we had to decide about the threads. We chose a Lyrical Lilac  Magnifico #2122 from Superior Threads for the scalloping inside the pumpkin seeds. We thought that this shade looked nice against all the different colours of purple.

Magnifico #2122 Lyrical Lilac from Superior Threads
We went for a white silk from the Kimono Silk range for the feathers. We wanted a delicate look for this quilt and the Kimono silk was just the fibre to create the subtle texture that we wanted.

Kimono Silk #373 White Rice
One of the final stages in getting ready to quilt is to sew a sashing strip on the side edges of the quilt. This gives me a place to play with my tension before moving into the 'real quilt'.

Add notice the side sashing strips attached to each side of the quilt top
I try to do most of my starting and stopping on these sashing strips so I don't have to worry about sewing in the thread tails. The side sashing strips also provide the perfect place to attach the side tension clips. The side sashing makes sure that the side tension is nice and even.

playing with my thread tension on the side sashing strips 

Then at the end when I take the quilt off the frame, I can simply slice off the side sashing strips with the rotary cutter.

slicing off the side sashing strips once the quilting is finished
 Once all the design and thread choices are made and the quilt sandwich is loaded on the frame, the fun begins!