Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kitty surgery

Well, here is my boyfriend, home from his surgery. The first thing he did was to crawl under my son's desk and settle in. That's one of Jonesy's most favorite places in the whole world - near Eric.

For the next fourteen days he will wear the collar, take medicine and be confined. Easier said than done! (those of you who have cats know what I mean.)

Jonesy had a sizable tumor removed from the underside of his front leg. Hopefully this will give us a few more years together. We love him so much. He truly is a character.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Northwest Snowman

When the weather changed from Fall to Winter on our calendar here, I embroidered this 'Northwest' version of a Snowman and made it into a pillow for our guest bed.

He's got moss and mushrooms growing on his arms and head. This guy is holding a hot cup of coffee, and of course it's raining instead of snowing. Very typical for our Winters here in Portland, Oregon.

I simply reduced one of my Seasonal applique patterns 50%, and traced it onto a piece of muslin. After I stitched it up, I used a little instant coffee on the whole piece to achieve an 'aged' look. Can't see much of it in the picture though. I would have liked there to be more contrast between the threads and the fabric.

One lesson learned: 'staining' the whole piece afterward also stains the threads!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back in the saddle again. . .

 Today, I'm back in my sewing room again. Yippie! Stress reduction in action.

I thought I'd use up the last of the fabric scraps that Judy returned to me after she stitched up her Christmas gifts for me.

I'd been looking at a small doll quilt in the Winter 2011 issue of the Simple Quilts and Sewing magazine. I  followed the directions and used up as many of the fabric scraps as I could. That pretty much determined the size of my little quilt.

I had been doing some reading recently about matching seams. I wanted to try two things I was curious about.

The first one was, a smaller stitch length.

Quiltmaker magazine's Diane Harris blogged about stitch length in November:

Shorten your stitch length for better piecing all around! I’m always amazed by the settings my students use for their stitch length—way too long. If you’re on metric settings, 2.0 is the minimum I use for piecing. Sometimes I go down to 1.6. (That’s the length of each stitch in millimeters. (Learn more about stitch length here) If your machine settings are measured in stitches per inch, go for 15 or 17 per inch.

A good rule of thumb is that the shorter the seam you’re sewing is, the shorter your stitches need to be. If the seam is only 1/2″ long, you’ll want more stitches in that space in order for the seam to be secure.

The second thing I wanted to try was, a technique for pinning to get better control of matching seams.

This suggestion came from the February 2012 issue of the American Patchwork and Quilting magazine.
The article was about making pinwheels, but I applied it to basic matching for any pieced seams. I knew I should be doing this, but never really made the switch to a better habit.

After matching your seams, or 'Butterflying' them (each seam pressed in opposite directions) carefully pin pieces together on either side of the seam line. The article also suggested; stabbing a pin through the point where the block units come together.

 Leave the pins in place just until you are about to sew over them.

 The result will be perfectly (well almost) aligned seams - with smaller, tighter stitches.

Just a couple of small things to make your sewing easier and more trouble-free!