Kaleidoscope lesson

I bought Andrea's Kaleidoscope collection for Electric Quilt and am busy following her tutorials.

This is the block we created. It's good to really understand how foundation pieced blocks are designed and created. Despite having used EQ for many years I still learn new things.

Here's the quilt I designed from the block. Roll on March for the next lesson!

February EQ6 Design for Download

Here is my EQ6 freebie for February. Click on the image to download the project file. The freebies are listed and can be downloaded from the left hand side of my blog.

French Braid Table Runner

I have been busy piecing a French Braid table runner to teach in class today. I used 8 fabrics for the table runner and will layer and quilt it later this week once my students see how it is pieced.

I am off to pack my things for class and make sure I have all the samples I need for today.

Trip Around the World

One of my new students came into class last week with a book showing a Trip Around the World quilt that she wanted to make. I have to say the instructions were more than a little convoluted and I was sure there was an easier way to make it. I was thinking bargello.

I made a trip around the world quilt in 1999 although because I used signature squares I didn't strip piece that particular quilt.

Virtual Quilt Around the World (1999)

This quilt was made as part of a Millenium challenge where I swapped 3 1/2" squares and a signature square with quilters from around the world. This was made from the remaining squares from the first quilt I made and all the signature squares as I wanted to preserve the signatures this quilt is not used.

I haven't found clear instructions for this technique and so I have set about writing some myself.

In order to properly teach the technique I have a large quilt in various stages of completion. One quarter of the finished quilt is shown above. I used 4" squares from fabrics from my stash and since I am currently working on my own design of the Circumnavigation quilt I thought I would keep the same theme of Mike Perhams challenge and so I used blues and greens in this Trip Around the World quilt.
I wanted to show my students the completed quilt design without having to make a second large quilt and so, using the same selection of fabrics in the same layout as the larger quilt I set about making a miniature version. The squares in this quilt are 1" (one inch). I just have to put borders on it, quilt and bind it. I started these on Sunday afternoon, they are just so quick and easy to make. I have half the full sized quilt complete, a quarter with the strips joined and ready for cutting with the final quarter still in strips. It should make for a nice little extra project for my students this term.

Curcumnavigation Quilt is moving along nicely

My quilt "Circumnavigation" is moving along nicely. My classes are in progress at the moment so my time in the studio to spend on my own work is limited. The above picture is what the finished quilt will look like. I designed it in Electric Quilt V6.

The fabric colours haven't photographed too well. They are in fact richer in real life than they appear in the above image. I hope to get started on the blocks this week.

Salt and Pepper

I placed an order from Seasoned Pioneers for some sauces and herb and they arrived the next day - yesterday. I couldn't resist this salt. It's PINK.

It is hand mined from the Himalayan mountains and comes from ancient seas 250 million years old, imagine that! It not only looks gorgeous but it tastes lovely too.

I just love gadgets and have them everywhere from studio to kitchen. This is a tiny little marble pestle and mortar which is great for crushing just a few spices as they would get lost in the larger one. These peppercorns have a nice rich nutty flavour. I crushed them to put in my lamb which is in the oven already all timed and will be ready later today - now I can go off for my walk and then spend some time in the studio again this afternoon. I still haven't found the Thermore! Oh! well I need to get things ready for teaching class on Monday.

Free Motion Quilting - Pfaff Grand Quilter

I found it quite difficult to manage the French Braid quilt on the Bernina. I know it will get easier with practice however when I was in Bristol a couple of years ago I saw a Pfaff Grand Quilter being demonstrated. When I came home I bought one.

I did have a practice with it when I got it home but it was quite different to stitch with compared to the other machines I have and so I thought I would get back to it when I had more FMQ experience. I have been so busy with other things, like the Judging course and my C&G course in Creative Computing, that I never did get back to the Grand Quilter. I was feeling happy enough with my progress on the Bernina and I thought it might be better if I spent time practicing on the Grand Quilter and so I set it up a couple of days ago. It took me ages to find the manual for it! Anyway I found it and was able to thread it.

As you can see the Grand Quilter has a nice large working area. The scary part is that it stitches at 1600 stitches per minute. That's what was frightening when I first tried it a while back. I have reduced the speed to it's minimum and it's still fast. The foot pedal is so light to the touch which does take a bit of getting used to.

Itr has a knee lift which means you can keep your hands free which is great. It also has a needle down setting and you can cut the threads with a touch of a button. It has every feature a quilter would want - that's why I was attracted to it. It's time to start using it:

I started with a simple stipple design just to get a feel for the machine. I need to go out and get some more wadding (batting) but wanted to play a little with the machine with the few pieces I had left.

Since I had been stitching feathers I had a go at stitching them with the Grand Quilter.

These are the ones I did. I am finding it really difficult to follow the previous stitching like. The free motion foot is quite big and I am going to check if there is an open toed foot for this machine. I even put on my reading glasses to see if they would help, they didn't. I have had these glasses for ages and keep putting off using them until I really really need them - at the moment I don't!

I am off to search for a pack of Thermore that I have but cannot find then I can get busy with more practice pieces and get to grips with this machine.

Whilst I was out on my walk yesterday I took a picture of the moon. The sky was so crisp and clear I thought this was a wonderful sight.

Here's a closeup:

Finished French Braid Quilt

Well my best laid plans to machine quilt each day was interrupted by life just getting in the way as it does. It was in a good way though. This week I am spending getting my work ready for my classes which start back on Monday. The French Braid quilt needed to be layered and quilted but I have been putting that off as I was keen to free motion quilt it. That was one reason for all the practicing I have been doing. Although I am happy with FMQ I really needed to add to my repertoire. I still need to practice some more - lots more.

Whilst I was thinking about what to stitch on the quilt I got all the housework, washing, ironing done. It was good thinking time and yesterday I finally started the quilting.

Here it is being quilted. The easy option, apart from sending it off to Dianne in Lochearnhead to be quilted which is what I do with my larger quilts, would have been to quilt it using straight stitches or in the ditch. However I wanted to free motion quilt it and so I set about doing that yesterday. I had nothing to lose really and although it's not brilliant it is fine.

The other thing I tried which I haven't done before on a quilt this size is to baste it with 505 spray. Normally I either pin or thread baste and only use 505 for small quilts like my journal quilts. It was fine though and the quilt sandwich never moved which was what I feared.

This morning I squared it up and added the binding. One class sample finished!

A number of people have asked about the Nepal quilt design.
I have added it to my EQ projects on this blog. You can download EQ6 HERE and EQ5 HERE.

EQ6 Project for January

"January Jewels"

Here is January's project files for Electric Quilt 6 (EQ6) users who visit my blog. You can click on the image to download the PJ6 project file. If you use EQ5 email me and I will send you the project in that version. The project files will also appear on the left hand side of my blog to save you having to search back.


FMQ Day 7 - More feathers and a "heart"

This is a feather I stitched yesterday, I echoed inside as Patsy suggested. I wasn't too happy with it but I had little time to do any more.

I wanted to try some curvy feathers today and so I spent a little time drawing them out on paper to get the designs in my mind's eye. They were beginning to look good and so off I went to the sewing machine!
I thought I would let you see my set up. I have my little pile of quilt sandwiches. A pencil and a flexi curve ruler for drawing the "spine" of the feather. I love using these flexi curves and have a really nice long one which is great for borders. I have a couple of pairs of quilty gloves. One pair, which I cannot find, are made from a knitted fabric and I find them a little too stretchy. I bought these ones a little while ago, a couple of years in fact, when I attended a quilt teaching seminar in Bristol and found them on the Cotton Patch stand. They are cotton with little white dots on the palms/fingers and they fit nice and snuggly. I do like wearing these gloves. I will look out for the gloves DebH recommended.

I have a perspex extension table for the Bernina which helps a lot.

So of I went to the sewing machine having drawn my question mark curve. Oh! my oh! my I completely missed the curve! Not a good start to the day. (I show you each and every one of my samples I don't only show the best!!!) I was hoping to have another try at embellishing a feather but sadly this one wouldn't look good even if I had embellished it.

Undeterred I marked and stitched another one. Thank goodness, this one was better. I have embellished this one as per Patsy's idea. I rather like this one. I watched the DVD which included a feather heart and so I thought since this feather looked quite good I would have a go.

Oh! dear. Feel feel to laugh out loud - I did! I should have watched the DVD before I started, and perhaps I should have tried some pencil drawing but no I dived right in. I didn't even know where to go at the beginning but what the heck I thought I might as well finish it not expecting too much but the experience would be good. It's not so bad really is it? I will get better.

I am off to have some lunch and then I shall watch the DVD again and see how these feathered hearts are done. I will post my efforts tomorrow.

Thanks for dropping by.