Wednesday, June 20, 2012

21 Beauties

While I was at it got the reissued Flea Market Fancy line of fabrics by Denyse Schmidt. I absolutely love this collection too. I don't think I need to say much on this subject. If I can get Katie Jump Rope collection at a reasonable price it would be great but so far I am happy with what I have.

The complete set of 21 newly re-introduced fabrics

Greens and Grays

Blues and Browns

Reds and Yellows

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pouch Swap

I got this in exchange for my pouch at CNJMQG swap. I was humbled when I examined it closely as it was similar in construction to mine but looked so much better than the one I made. The difference was in the details. The idea is to learn from these little things and improve rather than be intimidated.

On another note, I love going to the CNJMQG meetings each month. Most of the members in the guild are a who's who in their own right and I am amazed at the projects they bring for the show and tell part of the meeting. I am beginning to figure that they all are highly accomplished in the world of quilting and am fortunate to be learning from the best. On my drive back from the meetings I usually process everything I saw and heard and stash it away for use in future projects. So much inspiration and good practical advice. I think for everything in life you need good role models and I feel privileged to have found so many.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First attempt at FMQ

Last Saturday I hooked up the BSR foot on my sewing machine and did a practice round of FMQ. It wasn't pretty but I got a good feel for it. I am posting some pictures just so I can come back later and see how I have improved (who knows when that day will come!). On the flip side, I can only go up from here :) At first I struggled keeping a steady pace so the stitches were uneven but I got the stippling pattern more or less, then I started to concentrate on getting the stitch length even then the pattern got all wonky. Need to try and do both at the same time. 

Well this comes to mind -- To myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me...........Isaac Newton

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Denyse Schmidt fabric

I have heard and seen so much of Denyse Schmidt's work that it's hard to not be influenced by her. Her quilts looks so much more mature and professional than the cutesy dabbling that beginners like me indulge in. However when it came to her fabric I always thought it looked very retro, something that my grand mom would pick out from a fabric lineup. On a recent visit to Joann's fabric store I picked out the range of DS Quilt fabrics and got a few pieces from her collection. I got them home and looked at them more closely and realized they are timeless rather than retro. The more I looked at them the more I liked them. Here is the set I picked out.

Of them, these are my favorite

These would even make great dresses for a little girl. Maybe I should get more from her recently reprinted collection.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hundreds of seams later...

Still chipping away at my flying geese quilt. Hundreds of seams later this is what I have. I don't have an official design wall so just using the wall for now. 
Love the way it looks right now, some might argue there is a lack of color but it's on purpose. I want the organic look and feel of homespun Madras cotton fabric to come through. This quilt has such an nice airy feel to it. It's probably the most traditional quilt I have made. Still haven't narrowed down the backing and binding fabric. Hopefully soon.

More here: more, progress, herehere

Saturday, June 9, 2012


We have a pouch swap at our quilt guild and this is what I came up with using this tutorial. I finally understood how to make a gusset which was a concept that eluded me when I made the tote earlier. Hope the recipient likes it.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Did I really earn it....?

Last September I dived into the world of sewing and quilting armed with my $50 purchase from eBay - a low end sewing machine. To my surprise it turned out to be a great buy. It had everything you could possibly want in a sewing machine. I read up the manual and learnt how to operate it. I tried every little function the machine had from creating a button hole to free-motion quilting. I tried on all the presser feet that came with it and read the entire manual cover to cover. I even ordered the optional presser feet as they were $0.99 on Amazon. I paid more for shipping. It was a great little machine but as soon as I delved into quilting I began to feel I needed something more sturdy. This machine would choke and splutter occasionally but it never quit on me. I would give it a break and then continue. It was the Brother XR-4040. It is a great little machine for a beginner. I made 3 quilts on this machine.

Then in my true geek style I scoured the internet for my next machine. I looked incessantly. I read reviews by the hundreds and decided that I needed to try out some of the machines I had read about. For months I would just glance at sewing machines on my visits to Joann Fabrics or Fabricland but I never did try one. I felt quite intimidated. These machines seemed so fancy and according to the reviews could work wonders. Besides they cost $$$$ a lot more than my $50 wonder. My current machine was fine except when it came to quilting. That's when I felt the need for a better machine.

Then one day I accidentally walked into a Sew & Vac shop in Stroudsburg, PA while visiting a friend and was surprised that they stocked almost every machine I had heard of, read about or wanted to try. I spent about 6 hours there, where the kind lady walked me through every machine I mentioned. I even looked at some long arm quilters that I had never seen before in person. After trying about 15 machines I narrowed it down to the Bernina 440QE or the Janome 1600P. Both were way more expensive than my little Brother machine and I agonized for a few weeks if I should invest that kind of money into a hobby I had pursued for less than a year. They were some rough days of decision making. I made lists of features that the new machine would provide me, how it would vastly improve my sewing skills, how I would appreciate a new machine....etc. etc. I even reiterated the saying a bad carpenter blames his tools.

Finally decided to pull the plug and get a new sewing machine after two weeks. I called up the Sew & Vac and asked them if they still had the two machines in stock and they said yes. I drove over and bought the Bernina 440 QE. I needed a portable sewing machine, the Janome 1600P was not as portable as I would have liked. I just wanted something that would merely replace the Brother machine I had become attached to. I did not want anything too big. So for the past month I have been sewing with my Bernina 440QE and it's interesting how quickly I have forgotten the Brother.

This machine sews like a dream. A few things I love about this machine:
  • Never had any tension problems.
  • Very easy to replace the presser feet.
  • Ability to fill and replace the bobbin without removing the quilt from the machine.
  • The FHM system is very handy.
  • The ability to program the needle position.
  • The ability to fine tune the needle position.
  • I can sew for hours and the machine just purrs on.
  • Ability to set the sewing speed.
I have a hardly explored all the features but this machine is catered towards quilters. Some might complain about the throat space but considering what I am upgrading from this is plenty for me. I haven't really spent much time with the BSR but certainly planning my next quilt doing some free-motion quilting. High time. I have stopped doing the cost analysis in my head for the time being, hopefully the ROI (return on investment) will be more in kind than money :)

Flying geese quilt - officially a UFO

I learnt a new term at my quilt guild UFO (Un-Finished Object). So far I had a good track record but lately I have one unfinished project that I must wind up. Mostly because it will be a quilt that I will use. Here are pictures of some more progress I made on the quilt, but got ways to go. I can't really decide on a backing or binding for it either.

More here: progress, here, here