Monday, November 18, 2013

Free Motion Quilting from the back

I thought I'd post a couple WIP shots and tell how much I love this technique! 

I always find it daunting about figuring out what to free motion quilt on these smaller lap sized quilts when the quilt pattern is so busy.  Since I don't have a long arm, all my fmq is done on my domestic Brother PC2800.  

What I discovered a while ago was the beauty, ease and thrill of quilting from the back.  When I choose the backing fabric for one of these quilts I deliberately chose a repeating pattern for this purpose. 

After I quilted three sets of each pair I quickly grew bored & then would alternate the leaves.   Some are half, some skip entirely.  I think it worked out nicely and was fairly quick to do.   


The best part for me is turning the quilt over and seeing the serendipity of where the leaves place.  What you see and what you don't.  

The second thing I will share is that while I whine a bit when I feel the pinch in my purse over buying Aurifil threads, there simply is no finer thread for me on the market.  For piecing, fmq or even hand stitching, hands down the quality is unsurpassed.  

Ask me how often when using other fancy threads and you are flying along every twenty stitches your thread breaks. 

I. Hate. That.  

With Aurifil I can go 7000 miles per hour and it keeps up with me!  No snags, no weird double loop thing back through the needle and no arguments with my bobbin either.  

Also, quilting from the back, they tell you to be careful as the tension is really crucial, with Aurifil in my machine it is simply a non issue. 

I totally heart Aurifil. Worth. Every. Penny!

Happy Sewing!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cyborg Kitteh & Broken Toy

I loved making these pieces from start to finish.  
I may need to do another steampunk BIG kitteh soon

He's watchin you with his LED red eye!  

The opening is 8 1/2 x 11".  
The show opens January 8th at the Whittier Art Gallery, Whittier, CA. 
More info to follow. 

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Binding from The Back

Recently I heard on a quilting video about binding from the back. 
I had never heard of doing that and wanted to try it.  It worked a treat and so I'm including these photos 
as a sort of mini tutorial.  

The dark green will be our 'front'

The beige will be the back

Just like when attaching binding to the front, you use your 1/4 inch seam and stitch right down to the sides to the corner. 
One tip I learned was that when you get to the corner, instead of just stopping and turning, stitch right off at this angle
I am only pivoting the piece to show the angle
stitch straight off
you will have a seam that looks like this ^ above

what that does is give you a nice sharp line when you do your corner fold over

so now you have this all sewn (and of course you would finish yours)

I apologize for not doing a very good job at my 1/4 in seam.  But you get the idea.  
 Now flip to the front
Wrap the finished edge from the back to the front.  

Lay that edge right on your stitch line and stitch down your edge
When you get to the end, I stitch into the seam allowance and then  turn.

With care you can match up your corners a bit better than I have so they will appear perfectly mitered

Totally off topic but here's my scissors, Havel's.  See the tiny teeth?  These scissors are the most amazing things and while I don't use them to cut big yardage (I'm a fan of hitting that sweet spot and just gliding my shears right up without actually scissoring)  These scissors are fantastic for everything else and most especially if you are cutting small, slippery things.  The wee teeth prevent the material from sliding all over and giving you wonky cuts. 

You can see where I've stitched right on the seam line
That's important so that when viewed from the back, this is what you see 

not this... note the 'double' seam line
In many ways this is faster and easy and I love stitching down that nice finished edge from the front.  I just need to master that 1/4 seam on the edge so when I do the flip over my binding's nice & tight!

Since this is a 'how to' and I've never done one before, please forgive if there is confusion.  Leave a comment  or email me and I'll explain better if needed. 

Thanks and Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Red Light!

The theme for the second piece of art I'm entering in the Whittier show is 'Red Light'
I have long wanted to make a cyborg/steampunk kitty and last night I had an ephiphany!
I went to my bike & took one of my blinky reflectors off and smashed the bejjesus outta it
(the reflector part, not the LED part)
And I had this old watch my mum gave me when I was... well, best not go there. 
I had taken the watch apart and was initially only going to put a red bead under the crystal but then
I thought, I want to make it light up! 
I could actually fit the battery part under the Top Hat (naturally) there could be  flower or somesuch that could simply be pressed.  There are actually three settings to the LED I have.  Blinky is very fun but I like the solid red 'On'. 
Next I needed to be able to occlude the LED parts.  So another AHA! moment (nad more smashing) and I had it.  I just put part of the yellow reflector cut to size inside the crystal.  Then needed to add the pupil.  Sharpie was too transparent so I just grabbed a larger round sequin (black with rainbow stars on it) cut down.  PERFECT! 
Without light on
*cue maniacal laughter* 
With light on

SO cool!
I'm so excited I can't wait to start putting this altogether tonight!
Here's my little cyborg so far.

The part where the gears are on the body will be a different material underneath.

Giddy Sewing!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

1930's (ish) Quilt

I had so much fun making this quilt and I really want to make another one only a lot bigger.  
What can I say about Moda's fabrics?  They are so soft and almost nearly a polished cotton feel which I love! 

This is two charm packs of Moda's 'Scrumptious' line.  This quilt is a small lap or baby quilt size at 38"W x 43 1/2" long.  

I did the dissappearing 9 patch block and added the large prairie points with the leftover charm squares.

I used an uber simple quilting pattern. No need to overwhelm the quilt with heavy filler. It also keeps the whole quilt very light and therefore more room in the pockets for warmth.

The backing was simply  yardage from the line

detail of loopy daisies 

SO much fun.

I did try a new technique on the binding, since I machine stitch my bindings down typically; I was using the old way of sewing the binding to the front & wrapping it to the back, I would then machine stitch down from from front carefully checking every couple inches to make sure I caught the back wrapped part.  

While watching yet another tutorial on something completely different the gal mentioned that "If I were going to machine quilt this binding down I would be attaching it first to the back..."  I was like what?  I couldn't find anywhere online that technique but figure it would just be reversed.  And I did it and it was AWESOME.  If anyone out there is interested and like me, had no clue you could do this; post a comment & I will put together some pics of the technique. 

Happy Sewing!
(this quilt will be available on my Etsy page shortly)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

During the Work Week

I get irritated at myself for not getting more sewing done between the hours of 5:30 & 11:00pm.
What I tell myself to counter this negativism is that even if I do something small, it counts!
I simply cannot afford to leave all my quilt work for the weekends when I have two whole days uninterrupted (mostly) .  There is simply too much to do. I am grateful for this!  
During the week I tell the dishes in the sink to go to h - e - double chopsticks and
I put my hair up and go into my sewing room to do something small.
I was asked to be in a small art showing coming up and the works are due in December.  The size is
8 1/2"  x 11". 
I like working this small and I hate working this small.
Focus has always been my nemises.
The theme for one of these is 'Broken Pull Toy' and I fell in love with it immedately!
I haven't quilted this yet but it's because I needed the white paint to dry overnight.
This necklace was from my daughter, it's from the Invader ZIM (an alien) cartoon and this quote is from his dog GIR who loves earth's junk food. 
Can't wait to quilt it tonight. 
The other theme is simply 'Red' and I haven't a clue yet. 
Both pieces will be framed and for sale at the art show.
Can't wait to see the whole collecion together!
Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

This was totally fun

And I fear a little addictive.  Making toss pillows is a great way to use up stash, do a little embellishing and remind yourself you do know how to sew in an invisible zipper! 

This pillow is 18" x 18".  A nice size. 

There are two of these up on my Etsy if you're interested.

But just take a gander at these I found online: 
I know! Right?!  How clever and fun! 

I am still working on creating some other colorways for the rainbow but in the meantime I have two queen size commissions I need to get to. 

I'm still without a car but have been having fun riding my bike, (yes; wearing my helmet) and dreaming of more quilt tops to make! 

Happy Sewing! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sari Bari's 2013 Quilt Auction and Raffle

One of my favorite Modern Quilters and co-author of Modern Quilting Katie Pederson posted this on her blog today.  I'm sharing and hope you all will too.  Feel free to copy and paste and help spread the word.  And good luck if you plan on buying a raffle ticket! 

::Sari Bari’s 2013 Quilt Auction and Raffle::

I wanted to share with you Sari Bari’s 2013 Quilt Auction and Raffle taking place through November 10th.  I hope you’ll take a minute to read more about Sari Bari’s wonderful efforts below and support their fundraising cause.  You’ll have a chance to win a beautiful quilt made with Indian saris while supporting the women they employ as the artisans!  Please feel free to copy and paste this to your own blog.  Let’s spread the word of their work!  Thanks Beth Pinckney for the heads up on this.
Sari Bari is in the business of making things new. We take cast off saris, the traditional dress of the Indian woman, and stitch them together in the kantha style of Bengal, a simple running quilt stitch done by hand. We piece and patch and layer to create beautiful, unique quilts. We are lovers of transformation and are exhilarated by the unique possibilities and potential within each sari to create something new.
More profoundly we are interested in the potential and possibilities of the women who make the products of Sari Bari. These women have found their way to freedom from the sex trade through employment at Sari Bari, where they find an opportunity for a different kind of work and a different kind of life. Sari Bari provides a safe place to be restored; to receive training as a quilt artisan, educational support, support for dependents, and retirement and health insurance. At Sari Bari not only are saris are uniquely transformed, but the women themselves emerge from the broken reality of lives as sex workers, to empowerment, healing and a way forward– truly a difficult… and a beautiful process.
This year Sari Bari has engaged the talented quilt artisans of Sari Bari in Kolkata, India together with quilters of all skill levels from around the world to create a unique collection for the 2013 Sari Bari Quilt Auction and Raffle. The auction will be held at from November 1 to November 10, 2013. Each quilt is stitched from either new or recycled saris. The quilts produced by Sari Bari women are made from recycled saris in our traditional five-layer style. The other quilts reflect each of their creators, using a variety of design choices, patterns and construction techniques.
In addition to the auction we will conduct a raffle this year, giving everyone a chance to own one of these amazing quilts. For only $20-$30 you can purchase a raffle ticket for a chance to win one of the unique quilts. You will be able purchase your raffle ticket for the quilt you choose via
How to Participate
You may place bids and purchase raffle tickets at at any time between 5:00 p.m. November 1 and 4:59 p.m. November 10, 2013. Winners will be announced November 11, 2013.
If you’d like to make a direct donation to the work of Sari Bari, visit All gifts are tax-deductible.
All proceeds from the auction and raffle will go toward supporting Sari Bari’s ongoing freedom work which will include:
  • Purchasing a property in the Kalighat red light area so we can employ more women for freedom.
  •  Opening our second prevention unit in 2014 in an area that is notorious for trafficking young girls and women into the sex trade.
  • Training for at least 50 more women who are waiting to choose freedom.
We are so grateful for your interest in and support for the work of Sari Bari and the women whose lives are profoundly changed.