Monday, March 26, 2012

Quilting Machine (Me)

Well as time seems to go I have found myself a quilting machine, although with my self imposed limitations I find most of my days either washing dishes with a nervous quilting twitch or annoying the hell out of my friends with my quilting lingo and hilarious quilting anecdotes (which are never appreciated to the entirety of their wit). I made this quilt for a very special little girl (Cally).

I quilted it with a pattern called Heart Flow ( It was a really fun and fast design to quilt and I would use it again (or one like it). There just seem to be a multitude of babies being born all around me at the moment so most of my recent projects seem to be a little childish. Which happens to be quite the joke at the guild since I put a lot of profanity and love into these quilts (it's that or grind my teeth into non-existence).

This is little baby Bowen's quilt, with big banana leaves quilted around the boarder.

So I know that everyone has a 'stash' (or as I like to view it; Essential materials accumulation) and I'm sure mine looks a lot like anyone elses, but due to the lack of a fabric store within a reasonable distance (the next town) and lack of funds I actually have to use my 'stash'. I have been fortunate enough to acquire the dregs of stashes all around the province... I'm not sure if I've been lucky or cursed with this haul. Why does everything seem like such a good idea at the time only to become the biggest headache since the last time you turned on your sewing machine? I have been wrestling with all sorts of material that my skill and
knowledge base is completely unprepared to handle. I will go and google all sorts of things about animals or cooking, but when it comes to quilting I get this blocky look in my eye and just do it! Then of course I fix it, then fix it again, throw it in a corner, and fix it once I've ruined something else. I do one day plan to take photos of these mistakes so hopefully I could stop someone else from this horror but I'm usually happy when I don't throw my machine out the window. I have been following the free motion quilt along lead by Leah Day ( And the first couple of weeks were based upon how to quilt on a larger scale, I have been wrestling with this problem. When you quilt on a home machine you can only move the quilt so far and so fast and see so much before you've sewn your finger into your quilt. So with a little guidance and a glass or two of wine (I knew a problem for my temper would naturally present itself) I did a pretty good job. Well the projects are mounting so I'm off to the curve again.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Curve

I received my sewing machine for Christmas from my parents in 2010... Mom set it up for me and made sure it was threaded properly and said "There you go, good luck, call your def grandmother if you need help, hahaha". Well great... That machine sat at our table for months and months until finally my husband told me to step up or move the damn machine. The fear had built to such a level my eyes would almost cross in horror at the thought of breaking this fine piece of equipment. To tell you the truth I don't know exactly how it came about but I started to cut some dollar store fleece into squares and took the plunge into quilting hell (little did I know that a real square wasn't supposed to be hacked out using my dollar store scissors). I have learned more swear words from that sewing machine than working in a sawmill!!! But soon my fear faded and the beginning of a wonderful relationship was born. My first fleecy blankets were abominable and I'm so happy I gave them away to those people I rarely see.

I continued to snip and sew with varying degrees of success, I finally moved down to the basement and took over the spare room when I tackled the biggest project to date applique (smack self in head)! If I had known how hard it was going to be I would never had attempted it, YouTube makes things look easy. Anyhow below is a photo of my results.

As I sunk deeper into my quilting madness (and YouTube). I discovered a local guild called "The Mile '0' Quilters Guild". i called and found out when the meetings were and knocked on the door the following Tuesday, all the ladies looked up at me and continued to inform me that the ballet studio was the next room down... I can't really blame them (actually I was quite flattered), since I was the youngest person there by about 20-30 years. Well once we worked out that I was actually here for the quilting I was welcomed with open arms and as much advice/help/experience anyone could ask for. That is when I finally discovered Leah Day ( and the free motion quilting project. I just had to try this machine quilting thing!

So I began the horror of the 'Quilting Curve' again. When you attempt this particular quilting
skill it's kind of appalling how many grinding, clunking, screeching sounds you can make your machine scream (it was kind of nice to make the stupid thing feel my pain for once). But once that I finished this 70's wannabe quilt I had worked out most of the bugs (if not all the clunking) of free motion quilting. So I started finishing up my quilt tops and planning other projects. Anyone need some advice? Stop, think, plan, repeat. Anyhow I tackled another quilt that involved applique mostly because I thought both my children deserved a quilt that mommy slaved over (plus I started to like the pain).

I did better on this second applique quilt mostly because it almost ended up to be the size I had originally planned. It's hard to see the detail of the pieced background (since it's all white) but I needed the practice. I cruised Leah Day's ( website until I found a quilting design I liked and I knew would push me beyond sanity and gave 'er a go. I'm pleased with the results but holy crap no you cannot see the back side and the cursed pleats that reside there.
After quilting this yellow bubble quilt (for lack of a better name) I was feeling very comfortable about my quilting ability. I have continued to quilt and am coming up on my one year quilting anniversary. I have a number of projects on the go (including one that is proving to be a real problem). I'm learning that the further I delve into the world of quilting the longer the quilting curve seems to get, but I'm alright with that.