In Over My Head…As Usual

Silly me.

I thought I would try multi-hooping in machine embroidery.

But I didn’t start with a simple design that might require 2 hoopings. No. Not me.

I didn’t even start with a design (as recommended by Amanda from Bernina) with 3 hoopings. Nope.

My design requires 14 separate hoopings. What could go wrong?

multi3The truth is, it’s a pretty nice design.  I used some of the Sepia Petals collection, resized them, wreathed, mirrored and aligned them.

The effect is lovely.  But the design is upwards of 157,000 stitches and measures about 2 ft. by 2 1/2 ft.

 

multi2I used the hoop canvas in Embroidery Software 7.  When I went to save, it asked me this question:  Would you like the export to split the files-one file for every hooping–SHOW ME first.

The SHOW ME turned out to be the most critical part of the design.  It displays a map of every hooping, in relation to every other hooping.

I am only 7 hoopings into this.

multi4Needless to say, after about 2 hoopings I was about to abandon the whole project.  The registration marks were pulling out.  Nothing was lining up properly.  But after about the third hooping I began to get better at facing the challenge.

I relied more on the precise positioning on the machine to help me line things up.

I got good at keeping the software open and showing the view of the hooping that I was stitching (was this number 6 or number 7??)  Anyway, at this point I managed to get the second half of the tree stitched…not yet shown in the pic below, and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

multi1

This pic is obviously a work in progress and I don’t have a final to show you yet.  I am planning on adding some coordinating fabric and quilting before I am finished.  But at least you can see where it’s headed.

Remember, its about a 2 ft. x 2 1/2 ft. design when completed. It hasn’t been pressed in about 3 hoopings.  But I think I can make it work. What a learning opportunity this has been!

Stay calm and keep stitching. Amen to that.

I’ll share when it’s done.

 

Bernina University 2014

I just got back from Bernina’s annual conference with dealers across the nation.  I’d like to share with you some of the experience, as it was held at Nashville’s Opryland resort…a tropical paradise in the south!

A few highlights:

–New 97 and 97D foot for 1/4 in. piecing on 9mm machines (that would be the 7series and 8 series, 560, 580).  Allows the foot to ride over both feed dogs giving us more control and a more precise seam.  This is available RIGHT NOW!  So get your orders in to your dealers.  If you are a quilter, this sounds like the foot for you!

–New Sterling Edition 880 that comes with DesignWorks and a GORGEOUS quilt design from Sarah Vedeler.

–New Swiss Edition 530 (hint:it’s red)

–New pink Bernettes that give a portion of proceeds to Breast Cancer research.

–The long-awaited 24 in and 20 in. longarms are here.  These machines are fantastic, but the rollout will be staggered starting in Q4 in limited markets.  They are manufactured in Switzerland 1 person, 1machine….means that one man (or woman) will assemble the entire longarm sewing machine before moving on to the next.  No assembly line production!! And let me tell you–these machines are awesome! Stitch regulator is included, takes all Bernina feet, bobbin winder up front and accessible, as well as your threads….I was really impressed by these machines.  The 24″ comes with a frame, the 20″ can be tabletop or frame.

So much more from Brewer and OESD coming up this fall as well.

Here’s a link to a fabulous youtube video from Heirloom Creations that does a great job of displaying the new machines from BU 2014. 

The view from some of my classes and wanderings:

 

Fresh Projects and Fresh Strawberries

software sampler2This is a project I worked on at work and at home for the June Bernina Software Sampler, which I teach.  The project involved learning techniques for machine embroidery applique.  The bud of the flower is part of the tutorial, but I went ahead and incorporated other elements as well, adding the stems, leaves etc. to create a simple but “summery” table runner. Once again, I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest.

No pattern available, but for those of you with embroidery machines and Bernina Embroidery Software 7, it’s a piece of cake….well, once you work out the dimensions.  The flower panels are 8 x 8 inches finished, and everything else falls into place after that.

(How many pairs of glasses does one sewist need? Hint: At one point I used them both.)

strawberriesOne of my favorite times of the year is when the strawberries are harvested at the local farm. Here’s a shout out to friends at Norton Farm.  They are an important part of our summer!  We’ll be waiting for the tomatoes, broccoli and finally the fabulous corn! I’m growing a few tomatoes and cukes out back, but the weather has been a little cool, so they are taking their time developing.

Here’s to the sweetness of summer!  May we always appreciate the bounty!

strawberries2

 

Baby Steps Toward a Project

I’m getting ready to start working on the polka dot project.  I have an idea about creating a tree with the different polka dots as the leaves.  I am starting as a base fabric some absolutely lovely twill which I ran across on rosie.com, which had an advertising link to Honey Be Good. Honey Be Good sells premium organic cotton.  I’ve only purchased this red twill there so far, but wow, the twill is yummy.  I need some clothes made out of this stuff.

I’ll be adding wool as the trunk of the tree, and I wanted to outline it in white.  I’m never sure how it will all turn out, but that’s the thought right now.

So I experimented on the machine using white perle cotton, size 8, as the blanket stitch thread.

perleAs you can see, the perle has a lot of dimension, jumps off the fabric and generally adds a lot of pop. But size 8 is just too large to go through the tension disks properly.

 

 

 

 

backside  I used a 90/14 needle and reduced the tension somewhat.  But you can see that the back side was looking like it might get knotted and nested at any moment.  Considering the size of this project, I just don’t want to be worrying so much about the  thread.

 

aurifil 28

 

I switched to Aurifil, size 28, and used the triple blanket stitch.  I made the blanket stitch a little wider for visibility, since the thread is so much finer.  Aside from having a more “machine-stitched” look, it does the job with the same “eyeball impact”.

 

finalSo here’s where I’m eventually headed.  I will be using much larger pieces of wool on the twill, with the white blanket stitch around it.  Eventually the whole project will be machine quilted, but not until I get all the details that I want.

I urge you to really experiment with your machine and some of the thicker threads.  You can get a hand-stitched look, and even when it does not look quite as hand-stitched, you can certainly add texture, dimension and detail to your project.

Be bold.  Nobody is writing the rules.

Save yourself — from Pinterest

If only I could.  But every now and then I get sucked into it.

If you sew, you know just how many absolutely gorgeous fabulous creative bright shiny fresh interesting lovely stunning fabric-savvy darling sweet edgy smart…whew…IDEAS are on that site.

I am helpless to resist.

So this little t-shirt project was inspired by one of the ideas I saw there at some point, and I wish I could credit the original poster.  But that’s the thing about pinterest.  You click on something, then on another thing, and before you know it you are down the rabbit hole somewhere on a blog, mixing all the ideas together.

So, for the record, I bought several of these cheap tees to use at a class for embroidery positioning.  The students used them in the class and now I have them left over and I was wondering what else I could do with them. Here’s the upcycle idea:

Before.

Before.

After.

After.

 

 

Just a plain tee to start, but it gets cut up into a shrug-type garment.

 

 

 

 

In the summer, I think it will look cute over a tank or tee.  Not bad for the $5 or so that I paid for it.

In the meantime, I’ll be shielding my eyes from the inevitable lure of pinterest.

For the moment.

Second Half of the Polka Dot Fabric Arrived!

Your fabric should either be her or in the precious post!  All polka dot exchange fabric is shown...60 squares!

Your fabric should either be here or in the previous post! All polka dot exchange fabric has arrived…60 squares!

Well, the second half of the fabric has arrived, and I spent the morning pouring over the notes, and fabric and addresses (just to see where everything came from).  This whole event has been a fabulous experience…and I haven’t even started to work with the fabric!

Vilbert, Germany. Wisconsin. California. Illinois. Derry, Ireland. Canberra, Australia.

Then, of course, was the fabric square from Edyta Sitar, from Laundry Basket Quilts, who also participated and did a lot of promoting of the exchange on her blog.

edyta sitarAt this point, I have an idea of what I want to create with all of the polka dot fabric, but I need to work out exactly what I’m going to do…I’ll keep you posted.

Many thanks to everyone who participated and to Prairie Stitches for coordinating.  This has been a terrific experience and I hope we can inspire one another to great things with all of our polka dot creations!

Greetings, Polka Dot Exchangers!

Do you see your fabric yet??

Do you see your fabric yet??

OK folks, this is the first time I have ever participated in a fabric exchange.  What a hoot!

So far, about half of the fabric has come in…I think.  It was 60 that we sent out, so I’m guessing that it will be 60 that we receive.  Just getting all the fabric is wonderful, but I am so pleasantly surprised and charmed by the lovely notes and greetings sent in each envelope!

I love quilters.  No doubt about it.

And I am moved by some of the people in this exchange…like 85 year old Eula Mae in Kansas who’s been quilting for 65 years.  Bless her heart.  And Carollee in California who’s husband recently passed away and is hoping the polka dots will cheer her up.  (Hi Carollee!  Hope they cheer you up too! Aren’t they interesting to receive?)

As soon as I opened the first two or three, I decided to create a tiny scrapbook of the notes from everyone, which are just as lovely as can be, don’t you think?  If you are receiving them, you know just what I mean–each one unique.

Notes from the ExchangeIt’s also unbelievable to me the reach that was achieved on this exchange:

Texas. Washington State.  Mississippi.  Massachusetts. Californinia. Indiana. Virginia. Michigan.  New Jersey. Colorado.  And that’s just in the first half.

Polka dot ExchangeI can’t wait to start using all your fabric and I am SO grateful to all of you for participating!

If you want to send photos of any of your projects that you work on using the polka dots, feel free to contact me.

And I’ll keep up the posting when the rest come in!

All the Eggs in One Basket

Egg basketI made this little basket (or bag) from the Easter egg files designed by Purely Gates.

She only works with distributors and quilt shops, so you can ask for them at your local quilt shop (or at Sew Generously if you ARE local.)

You use mylar in the hooping as an applique. The sparkle of the eggs is not showing up well in these photos because I took them with my iphone, and did not pay much attention to the light.

egg basket 2The sparkle is obvious when you view them in person and turn them toward the light.  Each egg pattern is different and distinct and the color palette and instructions are very clear.  Just be sure to purchase some mylar too.  I guarantee you’ll have some fun with this.

Here in the midwest we have a stretch of mild days ahead.  My plants are not yet showing any signs of life, but it’s early.

I have faith.

May your Easter holiday bring you the peace of knowing that even the viciousness of this past winter is not the last word, and we cannot possibly understand or anticipate the resurgence of life just by looking at the barren twigs of today. Somehow, some way, spring will come and new growth and new life will triumph.

It always has and it always will.

I Must Be Crazy

hand quilt5And so it begins.  The long task of hand quilting this baby, stitch by stitch.

I started with a lovely 28 wt. Aurifil, which I would highly recommend for machine quilting.  But after a few minutes, I switched to a much heavier weight (8) Valdani cotton.  I agonized over the two threads for a long time, finally consulting my husband who asked what would happen if I mixed them, or if, heaven forbid, I decided to machine quilt about half way through.  What if you get bored, he asked, or frustrated, or your hands seize up from the constant grip of the needle, or carpel tunnel sets in, or arthritis?  Will the quilt police come after you??

I thanked him for all the positive encouragement and cursed the fact that he knows me too well.

Meanwhile I decided on the Valdani.  It will be a wee bit more expensive, but I love the obvious hand sewn look.  At a size 8, this thread simply will not go through a machine, at least not as a top thread, and therefore is only used for hand work.

hand quilt 3I love that it gives the whole quilt top a homespun look.  I really do not want a quilt that looks like I purchased it at Pottery Barn (no offense to Pottery Barn, they have lovely merchandise.)

I just wanted something that could not be purchased anywhere.  So, yes, as crazy as it may seem, I’m going with the large thread and the hand quilting.

hand quilt 4According to my calculations, it takes me a steady 1 hour to complete a block, and in the quilt there’s approximately 108 blocks, plus the border.  I would have no problem machine quilting the border, but for kicks, let’s add it in.  If I worked an hour every single day, I could complete the quilting in 4 months.  Skipping days here and there, 6 months.

Realistically… one year.  So, boys and girls, this is not a project for the instant gratification crowd.  This is an endurance sport. If you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to psych myself up for the task.

I can do this.

Even though I have lots of other projects I want to work on in between bouts of hand quilting, and you know, life.

I won’t bore you with the ongoing work, at least not too much.  I’ll just give you occasional updates.

So call me crazy. Or call me overextended.  Just don’t call me late for dinner.

hand quilt 1