Sunday, 8 February 2015

Zig Zag

Another mini project on the way today! Time is precious during term time, and I am trying to fit in some little useful projects at the weekend.

Firstly I need to show you the finished phone pouch from last weekend. It ended up rather on the large side because I didn't want to trim off any of the quilting when I put it together. 

The velvet ribbon tie is gorgeous, but a bit impractical, so I am planning to replace it with a wee tab ith velcro on it. I had so much fun with this little creation, piecing the crazy patchwork, then doing swirly spirals all over. During the week I decided I need a little bag to carry keys, phone and hanky when out with my class, so I grabbed some scraps and put together a panel. 

I'm going to fold it in half, sew along the side and bottom, then line it. 

Chevrons are everywhere currently, so I did some wonky chevron styled zig zag free machine quilting all over. A bit tricky to get even with the stop and change of direction, so it is a bit rough. 
A bit more time and care and the zig zag chevron quilting would look awesome. On this randomly patched panel it is fine, but you would need to take care on solids as the uneven stitches would really show up.

I need to do a crazy pieced strap too, I think. The creative process evolves as these projects progress as I haven't got a plan or a pattern. I wonder what the finished bag will look like? 

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Mini project

I have been very busy working on my bigger projects, but the arrival of a new phone gave me the opportunity to create a little pouch to put it in. Even better, my machine quilting skills woild come in handy. I have done a fair bit of machine quilting, as I have never sent my quilts out to be longarm quilted. I have never been entirely happy with my skills, partly because of tension issues. So I have resolved to develop my machine quilting skills this year. Focus, focus and more focus is what I need. I LOVE making quilts and other useful items. The endless possibilities excite me.

So, firstly I did some research to try to resolve my issues with tension. You Tube video tutorials are fantastic, and a wee morsel of useful information popped up - crank up the top thread tension really high. I talked to the ladies at Cottonfields, our local quilting and patchwork shop, and they put me onto a lady who does a lot of machine quilting. It seems that lots of quilters prefer hand quilting or sending their work off to be quilted rather than tackling the job themselves. I can understand why. Machine quilting requires patience, practise and intense focus. 

I dabbled with a bit of stitch in the ditch quilting for my early quilts, but after attending a machine quilting course I have done mostly overlapping lines, outlines or squiggles. I have always had trouble with tension and stitch length. After some research I discovered speed is not the way to go. A commonly held belief is that you plant your foot on the pedal to the floor and go for it to get even stitches. It does get the job done relatively quickly, but control goes out the window. So I have been practising slowing right down, moving the fabric gently and smoothly, and stitching steadily. Plus I did crank up the top thread tension a couple of notches, and hey presto- it worked! 

I adore bags of colourful fabric scraps, and picked up some little offcuts in interesting prints when Stitch (sadly) closed down. 
Then I pieced some scraps I thoight were pleasing together. 
I joined enough to make myself a chunk of patchwork big enough to use to make my phone pouch. Then I made a quilt sandwich with a firm batting in between. Shame I didn't have any basting spray, but pins were fine. Then I quilted using a curled pattern all over, this way and that. 
Not too bad. Some of the curls could be rounder, but practise makes perfect.
I love these fabrics together. Now I just need to make my little phone pouch from the resulting quilted panel.

Our students come back to school tomorrow for the official start of the school year. Life will be a lot busier. Hope I can fit plenty of creating into my year.