Saturday, September 24, 2011

Bat Placemats & Recycled Batting

I finished my bat placemats.  Yay!!  I had a fire under me on this because the Guild challenge was to do something 'for the table' and this qualifies and my meeting is tomorrow. So, for once I'm not finishing a holiday thing the last day it is to be used!  I've had this pattern since about 1991 and just knew I HAD to make it.  Cute, cute cute.  I did one with pumpkins on the back because my sister wanted something more 'harvest' like for use in November.  I don't know. Reversed, it still looks like a bat to me. Mine, intended for my teapot, has scarecrows on the back.
Here is one bat.


So, what did I use for the batting in my bat placemats?  Leftover Warm and Natural!  When I have leftovers, I like to use them in Quilt-as-You-Go preplanned projects.  How you connect them depends on the type of batting and the depth.  With Warm and Natural,  I first cut out 7 inch squares and 5 inch hexagons. So, what is left over are narrow batting strips that are usually about 3-4 inches wide.  I even up the strips and zig zag them together.  I take the opportunity to use up bobbins and nearly empty spools of thread with this projec.t  This particular group was mostly leftover from a wallhanging, so I added a couple of pieces to make it large enough to cut out two batts of bats. As nice as it is to use up narrow batting this way, there are limitations on how to use it.  The zig zags do not hold the batting together all that well with any weight even after quilting, so you would want your project to either lay on the table or be hung lengthwise.   All these narrow strips would be very irritating in a quilt and they likely would separate with regular use.
Sometimes you get a little wave in your batting unless you are very precise in your cutting. I'm not that picky, so this often happens on the edges.  You can't leave it this way or your project will never lay flat, even with quilting. Yes, quilting fixes a lot of evils, but not all of them!
Easy to fix.  First, cut where the wave is the highest and fold the edges over each other until your piece is laying flat. Sometimes you can eliminate several waves with just one cut, as I did here.
Next, use your scissors and cut through. You will have a leftover piece on top and on the bottom and your cut edges will match straight.
Finally, zig zag over the cut edges and you are done.
All Fixed now!

My Bernina is Here!!

Ah, yes, joy oh joy!  I love, love, love my Bernina.  I received my Bernina 440 QE earlier this month and WOW, it is so worth every darn dollar.  My favorite feature is the stitch regulator, which I used to finish off the trees in the Pine Grove Quilt, but I was surprised that the little needle up/down button makes sewing so much more pleasant. You press it and the needle goes up or down - one stitch is all you want sometimes and this does it. Another feature I have used a lot is the speed regulator.  Doing applique or really curvy things, I can slow the speed significantly reducing the need to redo sections.
As always, anything new requires special kitty investigation.  Polly just wouldn't quit, so I finally set the box up higher so that she could be ON the box AND look out the window.  I still have parts to get out of the box, such as the wider table piece, but so far, just did without to let her have the darn box.  Yes, Yes, I know, I need to start putting more photos up of the OTHER kitties, but she is far more dedicated to quilting than the other 4.   Sylvester, for instance, only comes in to get a pet and go into the window to look for chipmunks. He does make an excellent quilt inspector - just not so much into the sewing part.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Pine Grove Quilt is DONE!

Finished the Pine Grove quilt last night.  It's about 86x108 inches, so a large queen size.  It was done with mostly Thimbleberries fabrics and Quilter's Dream batting.  This quilt was originally intended as a 50th wedding anniversary quilt for my parents, but quilting such a large quilt was impossible for me at the time.  I was also frustrated to discover that the person who helped me pin it, insisted it was straight, when it was not, so I had to piece one corner on the back to have enough fabric to quilt it.  Grr.  Most of this was quilted using my Brother, but I did all the trees using my new Bernina with the stitch regulator. That alone was worth the price of this machine. Oh my gosh, the results are SO nice.  The original pattern is by Lynette Jensen in the book Thimbleberries Book of Quilts

That bright spot in the middle shouldn't be there. It was the sun peaking through tree leaves, I think.  I need to do an additional photograph to show the quilting since it never shows up in the patterned fabric.  Oh, and this is possibly the only quilt that I bought all the fabric for this single project at the same time.  I just knew what had to go together. 

Sadly, my Dad passed away 2 days before their 56th anniversary.  He did see the quilt though I think he preferred the boat wallhanging and train quilt.
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Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Bernina!!

I have been meaning to post, but I misplaced my SD reader. As a result, I have no photos (sob).

On Monday (a mere 6 days ago), I got a Bernina Aurora 440QE.  Totally love it.  Love it, love it, love it! My first computerized machine and worth every penny.  The only problem I've had is not threading it right, but I'm getting there.  I think it's actually the bobbin going in backwards that is the problem.  The BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) is so worth it.  It made finishing the Pine Grove quilt such a treat!  Also, one little thing it does that I totally love. If you leave the presser foot up, it beeps at you.  Saves a LOT of effort. Unfortunately, this feature doesn't work with the BSR, but you can't get everything.

As for the Brother machine, I will fix the tension and it will be my sewing machine to use for quilter's nights out.  It works fine for piecing. It was quilting that it was horrible at (and which messed with the tension so bad). 

Today, I finished the Pine Grove quilt, but the sun had already gone down so photo and more details tomorrow.  I have made more HSTs done.  I have plenty for the first HST for the first two quilts now. Tomorrow, I'll start cutting the black fabric and assembling blocks. Finally, I now have 3 rows of apple cores sewn together, so this take-a-long project is coming along nicely.

On the knitting front, I am starting a pair of socks called Croakers, as part of the Scarefest Sockfest on Ravelry.  I am confident that I will eventually be able to read a regular knitting diagrams, but if not, there will be plenty of folks to explain it to me. That's it for now. Photos as soon as I find or replace the SD card reader.