Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Back From a Spa Treatment

My Janome 6500 - she's home from the spa!

Janome 6500 home from the spa

All clean and wrapped up, she definitely looks like she's been bathed, oiled, and massaged. Maybe she had some minor work done - though she's not telling!

Now that she's back from her 'vacation', she looks and runs fabulous! Seriously though, Ken from Ray's Sewing Center gave her all that special treatment, along with replacing a belt and a hook, thankfully minor repairs. And she sounds wonderful, like the purr a confident lioness would have. I'm sure she and I will have many, many more great years together.

The initial post about her squeaking, Piecing Withdrawal, generated very interesting comments. Seems that most of you, like me, don't take your machines in for regular maintenance. Reasons varied from repair shop being too far away, don't fix it if it works fine, prior bad experience with repairs, other machines to fall back on, and finally, expense, which are all very valid reasons.

Personally, I think the decision to take a machine in depends on two things: how much the machine is used, and how dependable the shop is. The first is easy to determine, but the other gives us pause. It's the same thing when the car needs repair. We hope that changing the oil regularly, and checking air and fluids keeps the car running. But unfortunately, lubricants become grimy and parts wear out, requiring a trip to the repair shop. We know it has to be done, but putting faith in someone to make a proper repair, and without a huge dent to the wallet, well, that really makes us hesitate. 

Deep down, I knew this machine needed attention. What ultimately swayed my decision was that I figured any repair cost would pale in comparison to the cost of replacing the machine. I love this Janome 6500, and I'm not interested in a new one with more bells and whistles. Plus, I figured if I wasn't happy, then I would keep returning to the shop until whatever issue it had was resolved. Decision made. 

So far, it's been a good decision, though I'm probably not converted to yearly spa treatments. But if she continues to be the workhorse that she is, I'm thinking every 2-3 years would be good. I'll make a note of this repair date, and reassess in a few years. Seems fair enough, right?

Hopefully, based on my experience, I've given you some food for thought about machine maintenance because I really do want you and your machine to continue to have a wonderful relationship, and that's what ultimately matters. As Ben Franklin said, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Besides, I want to keep seeing your quilts!

Monday, July 24, 2017

T- Shirt Quilts Finished

Six finished t-shirt quilts, all ready to go.

six t shirt quilts

Commissioned back in March, they were started in April with the supplied 'tool' theme fabric. Such a sweet guy - he had his wife buy tool fabric whenever they went on shop hops. She certainly had quite the collection to work with!

t shirt quilts

For closer looks of the tops, check out these posts:
T-Shirts and Me
T-Shirts and Me Two

Since my sewing machine was in the shop, I thought it the perfect time to finish these up and move them from their resting place of the Innova quilt frame.

quilts hanging on Innova longarm frame

Now she's all clean!

clean Innova longarm

Much better, wouldn't you say? But I feel so exposed! Now you can see 70% of the stash - I really must work on trimming that down. For new fabric, of course.

All quilts use a lightweight poly batting, and have stippling on them, with either Glide Military Gold or Glide Cool Grey.

t shirt stipple quilting

And because I'm running low on my most used thread color, Sand, plus a few others, I decided to place an order at BobbinCentral.com. Look at these yummy colors that arrived!

Glide thread from BobbinCentral

I'm well stocked now - just need to find storage space.

So another saga of t-shirt quilts has come to an end, though I'm sure there will be more in my future!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Dresden Plate Poinsettia Coasters

Welcome to Day 8 of the 12 Days of Christmas in July Blog Hop! Not only is it my day to share, but there's also great projects in store for you at Katie Mae Quilts and Quilted Blooms - be sure to check them out too! And of course, we can't forget Sarah, the hostess of this Christmas themed hop who has a QAL going on over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. 

Now, pull up a chair and get ready to rest your favorite holiday beverage on these delightful poinsettia coasters!

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster and cup

These pretty blooms are a modified Dresden Plate, and super easy to sew. A full pattern, which includes the template, is available on Craftsy.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster full on view

Below is a tutorial on how easy it is to sew these charming Dresden Plate Poinsettia Coasters - let's get started!

Choose red and green fabrics that would make a lovely poinsettia - I went with Kona Rich Red and Basil Green. After cutting a strip from each color, the pieces are cut out using the template. 

template on strip for cutting

I found that by putting a ruler up to the edge of the template, 

strip cut 2

then holding the ruler in place and moving the template aside before making the cut, prevented cutting into the template. Wouldn't want to make it smaller! 

strip cut 2 piece 1

After cutting that piece, the template is rotated, and the next piece cut the same way.

strip cut 3 piece 2

Each flower and leaf Dresden plate requires seven pieces, which makes for 3 Dresden Plate Poinsettia Coasters from 1 strip of red/green.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster pieces

Now they're sewn just like a regular Dresden Plate, with angled clipping at the fold to reduce bulk.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster prep

After opening the seam and turning right side out, the pieces are given a gentle press.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster petal

They're sewn together in pairs, starting at the narrow end. 

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster pair stitching

Then pairs are sewn together, until all seven pieces make a sweet flower. To help make the center hole disappear, the seams are pressed in a circular fashion. With the addition of three small circles, plus batting on the back,

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster flower top

they are now ready for the detail stitching of veins, 

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster vein stitching

 and center applique stitching.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster applique stitching

Doing these steps now makes for a neater looking back - you'll see!

Now add the back, right side out and wrong side to the batting, turning it so that the 'leaves' are exposed. 

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster stitching

Stitch the two layers together, starting at the center and out in a ditch, then around the outer edges of the flower, then back into the next ditch. With needle down, rotate, and go back out, repeating until all pieces are done and ending at the center. Stitch around the outer edges of the appliqued center for the final finish.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster

And here's the neat finish of the back.

Dresden plate Poinsettia Coaster back

A bit of sealant, such as Fray Check, takes care of any possibility of fraying in the center.

I had a ton of fun making these Dresden Plate Poinsettia Coasters, and hope you do to! Remember to leave a comment here, and on all the blogs participating in the hop for a chance to win some of Tula Pink's new holiday fabric, Holiday Homies!


Pretty, huh? In case you're a no-reply blogger, please be sure to include you email in the comments so that Sarah can notify you of your win!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Midweek Makers #81

Wow! Did that week ever go by fast! Welcome to this week's edition of Midweek Makers, the place to share your fabric projects!

There's progress to show on those t-shirt quilts - woohoo! Two down, four to go.

Number three just got started,

with the same simple, open stipple. Really all that's needed on these - the prints say it all!

And who doesn't love prints and fun fabric? Take a look at some of prints from last week, like this hand made beauty by LeeAnna of Not Afraid of Color:


these pretty batiks DonnaLee of DonnaLeeQ found on a recent trip to Skagway:


and these bright, cheery Riley Blake prints Louisa from Sewmotion is using in a wonky squares block.


I certainly wouldn't have a problem adding them to my, um, stash (wink-wink!). All right you three, grab a 'Featured' button for your awesome fabrics!

grab button for Quiltfabrication
<div class="quiltfabrication-button" style="width: 150px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="http://www.quiltfabrication.com/" rel="nofollow"> <img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-hBX6zZwQmWA/VmW_QmgH1bI/AAAAAAAAJuE/6mqxb7IpMag/s150-Ic42/Midweek%252520Makers%252520Featured%252520on.jpg" alt="Quiltfabrication" width="150" height="150" /> </a> </div>

What do you have to share this week? I always enjoy the pictures and visiting with each and every one of you - so go ahead, link up!

Have a great time!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Piecing Withdrawal

My baby is in the hospital!

Ikea sewing table with Janome 6500

She's been making a squeaking sound when using the knee lift, which probably means there's no oil around the needle bar. And I must admit, I don't take her in for a spa treatment as often as I should. Aside from the admonishment I know I deserve, I'll ask this: how often do you take your machine in - regularly or only when acting up? Let's take a vote, then I'll determine whether I need to change my ways!

Hopefully, it's nothing more serious than needing a drop of oil and a general cleaning and lube. Supposedly, these machines are prone to needle bar loosening, and if it needs replacement, that's ok. I certainly use the machine a lot, and if the repair means I get several more years from her, then great!

So, while she's in the shop, piecing is at a standstill, though I do have a Pfaff 7570 and a Singer Featherweight that could take up the slack should I really feel the urge to piece. But, no, I'm going to take this time to finish up the commissioned t-shirt quilts now that the commissioner's health has improved. And until my sweet Janome 6500 has returned, I get to look at this:

empty Ikea sewing table

a big empty hole in my DIY Ikea sewing table. I think I'll turn my back on it, as my Innova longarm takes up the other side of the room.

QuiltFabrication Studio with Innova longarm

See that hanging on the Innova frame? It's 5 of the 6 t-shirt quilts, plus backs. I'm sure both the machine and I will be happy to move those off of there! But then again, that would reveal the 21 under-bed boxes full of fabric hiding underneath. Please don't think badly of me and my stash - I'd rather you be jealous!

Have a great day piecing everyone!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Pinwheel Ducks

Pinwheel Ducks is a finish!

Pinwheel Ducks quilt

For a scrap quilt, I really love how this turned out! Notice in the design, there is a square on point of dark teal pinwheels, with an inner ring of pale aqua pinwheels. And the very center - a square of that cute duck fabric!

Remember the numerous sizes of pinwheels to start with?

different sized pinwheels

A little bit of the scrap duck fabric used as sashing helped to bring them up to size. Here's a pic of several different widths of sashing.

sashing to bring up the size of blocks

The pinwheel quilting is an easy arc in all the aqua areas, with seeds in the duck center. 

pinwheel quilting

And the Autumn Breeze motif in the border turned out great!

Autumn Breeze border motif

Notice the design meets in the center, mirroring itself along one side of the border.

Autumn Breeze border quilting

And if you look closely, you can see some of the 'made fabric' in the aqua pinwheels.

pinwheels using made fabric

I also had the perfect aqua/duck flannel for the back.

Pinwheel Ducks back

Overall, a win-win-win on this quilt! And my tip for today? Don't despair over different sized blocks - just add sashing to bring it to size.

Have a great weekend quilting!

Linking up with these fun linky parties!
MOP Monday

Friday, July 14, 2017

12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop Kick Off!

It's here! The 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop, hosted by Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, is live!

                                         Confessions Of A Fabric Addict

Over 30 bloggers are sharing their handmade Christmas gifts and home decor ideas - here's the full list:

Friday, July 14th

Saturday, July 15th

Sunday, July 16th

Monday, July 17th

Tuesday, July 18th

Wednesday, July 19th

Thursday, July 20th

Friday, July 21st

Saturday, July 22nd

Sunday, July 23rd

Monday, July 24th

Tuesday, July 25th

Isn't that an awesome list? This is my second year participating, having made the Holiday Forest runner and placemat pattern last year.

Holiday Forest runner pattern

Earlier this summer, Holiday Forest took second place (behind Love Abounds) in the sewing division at the local fair. Woohoo!

My day in the hop is next Friday, but here's a sneak peek of what I've got in store for Christmas.

The idea rolled around in my head for a few weeks, then after several tries, it's worked out beautifully! Stay tuned!

Go visit today's blogs, From My Carolina HomeVrooman's Quilts, and Pampered Pettit. Be sure to leave a comment on each and every blog in the hop because there are prizes involved! Yes, prizes! Free Spirit Fabrics has donated not just one item for a giveaway, but THIRTEEN!  And as Sarah says, it's pretty drool-worthy stuff, too - it's Tula Pink's new holiday line, Holiday Homies!!!

There are six design rolls, six layer cakes, and one fat quarter bundle to give away. For a chance to win, visit each stop on the hop, and leave a comment on each post for the day.  At the end of the hop, Sarah will do a giveaway for each day by putting everyone's name in the hat who commented that day (from all that day's hop-blogs), and drawing a winner for that day.  That will be twelve winners - the design rolls and layer cakes.  Then she'll put all the names from all the days in a hat and draw out a grand prize winner for the fat quarter bundle!  Only one prize per person, though, to spread it around a bit. And it's open to international comments too - good luck all!

Now get hopping!