About Me

My photo
Sewing and cooking are two of my favorite things. In the past, I often found myself searching for pictures and details of projects I have done, without success. So I decided to start documenting my creations. Then my son suggested I add my recipes to the blog so that they are documented also.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Making Free Motion Quilting Easier - The Elna 740 Table

I have had the Elna 740 sewing machine for about 2 years now but have resisted buying the Elna table that goes with it. I use the 740 primarily for free motion quilting and usually just leave it set up for that purpose only. The advantages of the table is that the machine sits recessed into the table thus allowing a flat surface for the quilt to slide over. Well I took the plunge and cannot believe how much easier it is to FMQ with the machine in this table.

Notice how the bed of the machine is flush with the table. Plus the table itself is finished with some type of Formica that is extremely smooth and allows the quilt to glide over it without a Teflon overlay. It allows use of the knee lift and has a drawer on the left front for accessories.

The table has adjustable levelers on each leg so I was able to make it the same height as my cutting table. I rearranged my sewingroom to have the 740 back to back with my cutting table which now allows me to have over 60 inches of surface for my quilt to lay on and avoid the drag while quilting. I am more than happy with my new table and have already stippled a quilt with more ease than ever before.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pattern Weights

I cut out many things on my rotary mat with a rotary cutter. It is so much faster than pinning. Now you need to have the fabric and patterns weighted down and over the years I have bought a few pricey pattern weights. I have also used soup cans but they are quite bulky. Last week my hubby and I stopped at a local hardware store and I was browsing their hundreds of little drawers of bolts, screws and washers. I discovered their large washers were quite weighted so I bought 4 different sizes to see how they will work for pattern weights. They work great, hang on my pegboard when not in use and, best of all, were inexpensive.

Valentine Change Purses

On Valentine's Day my hubby and I met 3 other couples for lunch. I wanted to take a small gift for the ladies so I made the change purses shown above. They are so handy because you can throw them in your pocket with your credit card and cash and not have to lug your purse along.  I used the pattern for the strip zip version of Cash and Carry from Atkinson Designs http://store.atkinsondesigns.com/stores_app/Browse_Item_Details_ws.asp?Shopper_id=6044421648456044&Store_id=913&page_id=23&Item_ID=1033
and personalized it with their names. So my friends loved them but their husbands all complained because they did not get them!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week 3 of the McCall's Quilt Along

Week 3 of the McCall's Quilt Along is a lesson on the Friendship Star block.  I have not made this block before but it is pretty neat. Quite a bit of cutting and piecing for each block but I like the star. Here are some of mine I have done this week. I need to make 16 this week.

The Japanese print in the blocks above were bought in Bar Harbor, Maine  last fall. The black and beige floral came from Keepsakes Quilting in New Hampshire.

Check out my previous posts for blocks done in lesson 1 and 2.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lesson 2 of the McCall's Quilt Along

Well I am finally finished with lesson 2 of the quilt along as I posted about last week. http://juliannasjourney.blogspot.com/2014/02/a-quilt-along.html

The video with lesson 2 showed how to make the half square triangle units. Well making the units was not too bad. Trimming 144 of these units to size was really tedious! So glad to be finished with this task. Looking at some of the blocks makes me wonder what I have gotten myself into with this project.

On another front I have finished the railfence quilt top I started in January and now call it Starry Night. I need to get backing so I can sandwich it and start to quilt it.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Trying Out Handlook Quilting Stitches on My Machine

So recently I had a friend get a Sashiko machine to get that handlook stitch to quilt her quilts.  By the way Babylock has a promotion on them right now if you are interested http://babylock.com/promotions/. What I don't need is another machine but I am intriqued by the idea of handlook stitches.  Well a few of my machines have catgories of handlook stitches so today I played around with the Pfaff stitches. What actually happens with these stitches is that you use invisible monofilament thread in the needle and colored cotton thread in the bobbin. You turn up the needle tension- I put mine up to 9- it pulls the bobbin thread up to the right side. Here is my sample of a straight stitch and one of the decorative ones.

I am not sure I would quilt a whole quilt this way but I really like the look of the straight stitch.  I am sure I will find projects to use it on.

A Quilt ALong

So I have decided to do my first quilt along. It is being displayed at McCalls Quilting.  Here is a pic of their sample. It consists of 12 lessons in 12 weeks and has a video and a corresponding printable lesson. It consists of 8 different kind of blocks so there is a lot to learn.

Yes it is very pretty in pastels but I am not really a pastel kind of gal so I have chosen a different palette.

So feel free to join along. Just go to the above link and get started. I will caution you that on lesson 2 you must cut your long strips first before cutting out your 72 - 3 inch squares; ask me why I am warning you!!

Monday, February 3, 2014

More Doll Clothes

So I have made a few more items for my doll.  I had a piece of white flannel and figured it would make a cute nightgown.  I used some of the decorative stitches from my Pfaff to make rows of stitching to adorn the sleeves and bottom of the gown.  I also attached wide lace to the sleeves, hem and neckline.  I did not have any beading lace to put at the neck so that I could put in ribbon to gather it, so I ran a zigzag stitch over the ribbon to make a casing; this worked pretty well.

Notice my logo on the bottom left above the stitching.  I am adding this logo to each article of clothing.
I also made a shirred bodice dress. Back when I was about 19 I remember a dress pattern that I made for myself in which the bodice was shirred using elastic thread. Now that was over 40 years ago but I kinda remembered how to do it.  I cut the body of the dress about 2 inches wider than I would need to allow for the gathers. I hand wound the elastic thread onto my bobbin and put in the bobbin case as I normally would. I used regular thread for the needle thread. It sewed beautifully. After I put 6 rows on front and back, held the steam iron over the stitching and it shriveled right up to form the gathers.  I also made a little over the shoulder purse for her. Each item has taken around 1/2 yard of fabric plus various lace and ribbons, all of which I found in my stash from other projects.  One can make a whole wardrobe for an 18 inch doll just from leftovers!