Thursday, 5 March 2015

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 34 - A Touch of Purple



I shall do my best not to sound too cheesed off, but I am still in the grip of a ghastly lurg.  It is turning out to be a two week special, so again this week's sewing has been a cot quilt. Not much thinking, just doing.

I only had three strips left of the little rectangles which I have used in all my previous pink cot quilts.  This time, for the strips in between, I included lots of fabrics with purple and mauve to give a slightly different emphasis for the pink.  Combining purple and pink, for me, can sail dangerously close to the ick factor, but I think I managed to keep the whole colour scheme under control.  The sensible navy blue in the binding certainly helped.




My mum made herself a dress in this floral cotton in the 1980s.  When she died she left a very modest sized bag of scraps.




By contrast, my brother's mother in law left an immense stash of scraps, enough for a quilt and lots more.  There was enough of this blue and white floral to make a tea cosy, and I have been eking out the last few scraps in the cot quilts.




This is (probably) the end of this Laura Ashley print from the 1970s.




And the joys of random juxtaposition have given this elephant a fetching purple Mohican headdress.




Yet again I have done swirls for the free motion quilting.  More of the same.  I am looking forward to feeling better and doing something more interesting.


blogbutton photo peacockfmq025_zpse5bceb10.jpg



Here goes for week 34...

Many thanks to QuiltmusingsGwyned, Hilary, Judy, Susan, Lyn, Linda, Angie, Carole, and Teresa for linking up last time.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  .
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France and Macau have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Linking up with Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Angie's blog A Quilting Reader's Garden for WIPs Be Gone
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Scotney Castle


Scotney Castle in Kent, where I took a day trip with my brother the week before last.  The window in last Sunday's photo is at the top left.

Welcome to Pople Backyard Farm and Loopy Modiste, the latest followers - thank you for joining!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 33 - Yet Another Cot Quilt



This was the week when I intended starting something interesting - a landscape, perhaps. As it turned out, I have spent far too much time slobbing around in a dressing gown beating off a virus.  I thought I had it beaten, until last night I lost my voice.  How am I going to fully enjoy instalment 4 of The Great British Sewing Bee this evening if I can't yell at the telly?

So rather than embark on anything new, I have plodded along a well-worn groove and finished another green cot quilt this week.  It is not much different from the last one, but I was able to photograph it in better light so the colours are a little truer.


The print on the binding is perhaps a bit too busy, but it will give a little baby something else to look at when playing spot the elephant.



This little rabbit dangling his teddy by the ear made me smile when I took the photos, especially as the rabbit's alarm clock was only about ten minutes out according to the kitchen clock which was right behind me.



The pink and grey-green design on cream tones in really well, and at this rate might soon be finally used up.  I've only had it 35 years or so. 



The free motion quilting is swirls - again - which went more quickly and easily than the last one. These cot quilts are all about stash busting and FMQ practice rolled into one, so a bit repetitive, but very satisfying.

blogbutton photo peacockfmq025_zpse5bceb10.jpg



Here goes for week 33...

Many thanks to Judy, JoanieGwyned, LynTeresa, and Angie for linking up last time.


If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  .
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France and Macau have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Linking up with Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Richard and Tanya Quilts for Link A Finish Friday
and Michelle's Romantic Tangle for Let's Make Baby Quilts
and Angie's blog A Quilting Reader's Garden for WIPs Be Gone




Sunday, 22 February 2015

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Inside Looking Out


I took a trip to visit my brother in Surrey this week, and we had an outing on Wednesday. Next Sunday's picture will be of the outside...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Free Motion Mavericks - Week 32 - Rainbow Sunray


This is a refinish rather than a finish.  I made this sunray wall hanging three years ago, before I had plunged headlong into the joys of free motion quilting, and quilted it rather badly by hand.




Very badly, in fact.  Just for old times' sake, I left in the big bad hand quilting on the yellow sun.



On the turquoise border I did a pattern intended to look like billowing clouds.  I left the hand stitching in and machine quilted over it.  It was easy to unpick afterwards because it was just three lines of running stitch.  Doing free motion quilting in the border of a quilt that was already bound was a bit hair raising at times.  Even worse was snagging the beads a couple of times with the hopping foot. 




The sunrays are made of gauze ribbon, with a length of cord down the centre with beads worked over it.




I had loads of tiny beads, so it was a good way to add a bit of sparkle.




There were lots of different colours and sizes to choose from...




... and I came nowhere near using them all up.




These beads were strategically placed to cover messy bumpy bits where the ends of the cords were hidden under the seam.

This quilt drove me slightly nuts when I was making it, and irritated me no end when it was hanging on the sewing room wall because the quilting was so atrocious.  On Sunday I did the free motion quilting and now I'm pleased to see it looks much better after its second finish than it did after its first.  To celebrate its new lease of life it is now going to hang on the wall in my daughter's bedroom.

blogbutton photo peacockfmq025_zpse5bceb10.jpg



Here goes for week 32...

Firstly, a special mention for Quilt Musings, who linked up last week and earlier weeks, who is the first person to link up from Macau!

Also, many thanks to Carole, Hilary, JudyGwyned, Teresa, Angie, Doraand Linda for linking up last time.

If you love free motion quilting, whether you are a beginner just taking the plunge, or you have reached the stage where you can do ostrich feathers with your eyes shut and still achieve perfect symmetry, then please link up.

Remember, FMQ is FMQ, whether your machine was made last week, or it is older than your granny.

Here are the very easy and slightly elastic rules:-

1.  Link up with any recent post, ideally from the last week but within the last month, which features a free motion quilting project, whether it is a work in progress or a finish.

2.  Link back to this post in your own post and/or grab the linky button for your blog's sidebar.
  .
3.  Visit as many of the other participants as possible and say hello in the comments box.

4.  The link up will remain open for four days, from midnight to midnight GMT for the long weekend, Friday to Monday.

So far quilters from USA, England, Wales, Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, New Zealand, France and Macau have taken part.  The first participant from each new country will get a special mention the following week.

Linking up with Kelly's blog My Quilt Infatuation for Needle and Thread Thursday
and Sarah's blog Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday
and Amanda Jean's blog Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

How to Use the Mystery Buttonholer


A sample buttonhole which took only 30 seconds to stitch...



... using the wonderful mystery buttonholer, which I bought from a charity shop a couple of years ago.  



It has five cams (or are they half cams?), each marked with the size of button they are for, ranging from three to seven eighths of an inch, and including two cams for round ended buttonholes.  The other half is permanently set inside the buttonholer.

This marvellous gadget has turned out to be one of my best purchases ever.  It sews excellent buttonholes, it is easy to use, and I prefer it to my other vintage buttonholer, which is a Greist.  

Last year I posted a video showing the buttonholer in action.  In this post I shall show how to use it. 



This is the front of the buttonholer, showing the lever which fits over the screw of the needle clamp. When the needle moves up and down, so does the lever, thus operating the mechanism.  

At the centre of the photo is the hole for the fixing screw. 



The fixing screw attaches the buttonholer to the presser bar of the machine in place of the regular presser foot.



The red knob on the top overrides the lever mechanism.  When it is turned clockwise you can adjust the position of the parts shown below.


The prong protruding at the front remains static, whereas the metal piece underneath moves as the buttonhole is being sewn.  

In this photograph the lower piece is as far back as possible, and this is the position it needs to be in when inserting or removing a cam.



The cam fits into the back of the buttonholer.  You just push it in, and it clicks into place.



Once the cam is in, turn the red knob so that the lower part comes forward.  It has two arms, with little lugs on the side.



Now you can attach the rectangular plastic attachment...



... by fitting it over the little lugs.



Now it is time to get the machine ready.  This is my Singer 201K treadle.  I have lowered the feed dogs, removed the foot and its fixing screw, and threaded the machine top and bottom.



To attach the buttonholer to the machine, slide it into place from the back so that the end of the lever fits over the screw of the needle clamp...



... and then insert the fixing screw through to the presser bar and tighten it. 



The red knob needs to be turned again so that the plastic rectangle is pulled back as far as possible, as shown in this photo.

If you look at the reflections in the needle plate, you can see that the underneath of the plastic has rows of tiny sharp pyramid shapes, designed to grip the fabric.


The material is now in position, and the presser bar lever is down, ready for the buttonhole to be stitched.  I have brought the tails of the top and bottom threads forward so they don't get tangled up in the stitching.  Usually I just keep hold of them while I am stitching, but this time I made sure that the top thread was held down underneath the plastic rectangle because my hands weren't going to be free...

video


... because they were holding the camera!  

Watch how this wonderful contraption works - half a minute of pure magic.  The fabric is moved from side to side to give the zigzag stitch, and also backwards and forwards around the whole buttonhole.  I always go round twice to get a nice firm layer of stitching.

Making the video was a bit of a circus trick - feet treadling, both hands firmly holding the camera, and eyes watching the action through the camera.  It took three attempts.  On the first go I was holding the camera too low and the machine (or was it the buttonholer?) bumped it upwards with the first stitch.  The next time I tried I didn't press the shutter hard enough and didn't catch the beginning of the action.  Thrill and spills.




Finally, time to put the buttonholer away, and put this nifty metal tab to use.  First, make sure to turn the red knob to get the mechanism in the right position for removing the cam (see text in bold and photo above).  Also, make sure the tab is the right way up, with the little metal flap facing upwards.



Slide the tab into the back of the buttonholer under the cam...



... as far as it will go, and the little flap will click into a notch on the underneath of the cam...



... so you can pull it out.

The next bit of excitement will be to do samples of buttonholes with each cam, which will be very handy to refer to rather than doing a fresh test for every project.  Also, it will be great way of using this very photogenic cheerful turquoise cotton, which is otherwise useless because the dye runs like water. I am so glad I didn't chuck it out. 

Linking up with Connie's blog Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday

Sunday, 15 February 2015

A Pretty Picture for Sunday - Celtic Cross


A 19th century gravestone in this churchyard.

Welcome to three new followers today; pps6996, Cindy and Teresa Duryea Wong. Thank you for joining!

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