So much fun

Customer Batic quilt.  I love it when customers let me play on their quilts.  I do ask some questions so I get a feel for what they want.  This customer wanted a bright electric color thread so it would show on the borders.  I had so much fun doing the quilting on this one, although it was a loathe quilt and took a bit of time to do.  I used a lot of designs from APQS Whirls and Swirls YouTube videos.  

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Hawaiian coloring book quilt.

Remember tri-Chem (I think that is the name if it) paints? They were paints in tubes that were popular to make tea towels, etc in the 70’s I think. Anyhow a client used them to color these Hawaiian kids and then she made a quilt out of them and wanted me to quilt it with traditional echoing. It did pose some problems with some of the blocks but I worked it out on my iPad with procreate and found that it would work with a few modifications (used monopoly thread in the pictures themselves where I didn’t want to echo). 

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Princess dress quilt for client.


Had a really fun quilt I did recently for a new client. Some backgrounds I knew what I wanted to do, with others I looked at online coloring pages to give me ideas.

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Llama for a friend

Llama wallhanging I made for a friend. 

Used my couching foot and chenille yarn for the llama and then did the thread outlining and used Inktense colored pencils to add some color to it.

This was my inspiration. 

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Modern Double Wedding Quilt

This is a follow-up to my Troubles, Troubles, Troubles post on paper piecing a Modern Double Wedding Ring quilt.  Had more trouble as I went on and have not blogged about it because it was bumming me out and I was unsure if I would ever finish the quilt as I didn’t know if it would even come out OK.  I am here to tell you that if you have a quilt top that you are disappointed in, you have a couple of options that you need to choose from because if you continue to just do nothing it will sit there and always be on your mind.  You can #1, get it finished-this can either be done by yourself or paying someone else to finish it for you, #2 get rid of it-give it away or sell it, you can give it to another quilter, a quilt guild, a thrift store or sell it on ebay or a facebook group, someone is bound to love it more than you. To me these are your options.  I had started this project with the intentions of entering it in a local quilt guild’s quilt show because to me it fit our theme “Everything Old is New Again”.  I had to have the entry in by the 1st of Sept with the show the 1st weekend of Oct. I was hesitant to enter it as it was still just a top at that point.  But I did and I finished it a couple of days before the show.  Here is the reason it took me so long to finish.

Each of the 16 blocks were made of 12 smaller paper pieced blocks that were sewn together.

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I’ve done paper piecing before and have enjoyed it for the nice sharp points and matching seams you can get.  Well I had a few problems with this block.  I choose to keep the paper in all the 12 pieces until they were put together to form the block.  This made for some thick seams and paper stuck it tight little corners.  When it came time to take the paper out I had difficulty removing it.  At one point I used steam or Best Press to help the press the seams open.  When I did this with the paper still on the blocks the ink was transferred to the white fabric. I thought it might just be the paper showing through the fabric.  So I took off the paper-hoping.  No stains still there, but the corners were tight so I got out the tweezers and tried to get all the paper out of them.  That got rid of some of the stains.  While it was nice to leave the paper in while putting the parts together because it helped keep the fabric from stretching, but because the fabric was not stretching I was not able to help manipulate the fabric into perfectly matching at places.  But at that point I was so tired of this project that I put the blocks together and said “oh well, it i what it is”, hoping that quilting it would mask some of those errors.  So I was not very happy in the end with my piecing job (yes I know I am not supposed to point out my own faults-but I do this as a warning and a help for others, not to berate myself).  So I had this quilt on the design wall contemplating how to quilt it and what to do to cover the spots if they did not come out when it was washed.  I had wanted to put extra borders on the quilt and do some applique like one of these designs. But not knowing if the stains would come I didn’t want to put more work in than I needed to.

So I just sandwiched it and started quilting the  white parts.  img_1972

Just did my dense graffiti quilting with feathers, swirls, pebbles, flowers, whatever came to mind.  It did mask the stains a little and made them less noticeable so I began to have hope.  Finished the quilting stick it in the washer with some color catchers and hoped for the best.

Was crushed when the washer was done and I took it out and found this had happened.  More stains.

Tried a couple of different stain removers to no avail.  Thought of a last ditch effort-what else did I have to lose at this point-as there were too many spots to add appliques or couching yarn over them (2 of my solutions I had thought would work for just a few of the bigger more noticeable spots). The spots were only visible on the white fabric and so I got out the bleach. What? Yes, bleach, I mean at this point it really was just a practice quilt that I was not going to put in the how.  So I got a small cup and some Q-tips and went to work.  The first spots started to turn brown and then slowly disappear, I got excited.  In hind sight I should have diluted the bleach, but I was so excited that I just wanted to get the bleach on the spots and wash the quilt as soon as I could so it would not damage the quilt.  So I quickly finished and washed the quilt once again.  Success!!! No more spots.  The bad news was the bleach did go through to the back and left some white spots.

But at this point the front looks great and I really am not upset at the back.  Here it is finished and hanging in the show.

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So this is why I encourage you to just finish or get rid of your quilt tops (and even your finished quilts) that you are not happy with.  While it was on my design wall or folded up I still knew it was there and while I did not constantly think about it and the problems with it, it was always there and I never knew what would have happened to it until I actually did something about it.  Did it take a long time to quilt? Yes, it did (all those time stitches).  Is it perfect? No (lots of mistakes).  But it is done. Yes, and I am no longer consumed with what could have happened.  So, many of my friends go by this saying which I totally believe is true, “Done is better than perfect.” Do you have a quilt top that you are not happy with?  Get it quilted or give it away and be done with it one way or another.  I have a few tops that I just need to get rid of because I was not happy with how they turned out.  ON a different note, our quilt guild had what we call a Silent Auction every year.  We put our cast outs on tables, whether they are projects we did not like (they may be tops of still in pieces) or notions or whatever and then guild members will bid on them (at the end of the night the left overs are taken to a thrift store).  I got a table runner that I think is adorable that I can finish and will put in the silent auction we have at our next quilt show.  So that unwanted project has made some money for the guild, and will make more money for the guild once it is done.

In the end this is what I put on my label on the back of my quilt-so it can be a learning tool to whoever it may end up with.

Modern Double Wedding Ring

Machine paper pieced, machine quilted by Sandy Carreon April 2016-Sept. 2016, in Long Beach, CA. Designed on EQ7 for the Modern Meet-up at Sew and Vac in Long Beach. Many lessons learned even though I had done paper piecing before.

Lessons learned

  1. Kona cotton is thicker than other fabrics.
  2. You can get very precise points with paper piecing. But you need to be careful when joining pieces that have been paper pieced together.
  3. Trim and take paper out when joining 2 or more paper pieced portions. Pin these to get precise joins. (The paper prevents the fabric from moving to be able to match seams).
  4. And this is the real important one-make sure to get all the paper out of the stitching, adding water or starch or any type of moisture may cause the ink to stain the fabric.
  5. Make sure to trim the darker fabrics in the seams if using white or a light color as you might get shadowing when the quilt is finished.
  6. If you do happen to get ink on the fabric and it is white try to get the stains out before quilting. If all methods fail and it is white, bleach may work-it did for me (but I quilted it first and when I washed it more stains appeared-probably from small bits of paper with ink still under the stitches). Or if you quilt it, use white backing as the bleach will go through and make white spots on the backing (experience again-but at this point I will take a less than perfect back for a more perfect front).

And if you finish a quilt and you are still not happy with it, you don’t need to keep it.  Give it away! Give it to a thrift store, give it to a shelter (human or animal).  Only keep what you love, let the others be lessoned learned and move on.  That said I have a stack of quilts waiting for me to quilt them, and some tops that I just need to give away and move on.  Happy quilting.

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International Sewing Month

Hey, it’s International Sewing Month, yay.  Time to celebrate all that I love. I’ve got quite a few UFO’s (unfinished objects) so let’s see how many I can get done in September.  Along the way I will update my website as I have already finished some that I had listed here, and of course have added others.  It is late (as usual with me) and I am tired and of course my hone is taking it’s sweet time talking to my computer and getting my photos transferred over.  So I will post another blog tomorrow that has all my pictures.

Yesterday I put the binding on 2 child size quilts.  One for community relations for QBS

(quick pattern and just did a large meandering)

and one for a friend who won a panel at a guild meeting.

(cute little mermaid panel, some outlining and a few swirls) This one will go to the silent auction at our quilt show in October.  (Los Angeles Count Quilters Guild Quilt Show Oct 7-8, 2016 at the Greek Orthodox Church of Long Beach, 5761 East Colorado ST, Long Beach, CA).

Those were for Sept 1st.  For Sept 2nd I did not get any quilts finished (but the night is not over yet).  Today I worked on getting some signature blocks done for a guile meeting next week.  A member, and friend, from the guild has suffered a brain aneurysm and is in the hospital.  She is doing well, but surely faces a long recovery road.  So I wanted to make her a quilt that will help her to see all who love and miss her and are thinking of her.  I sent the pattern instructions and message to the guild members but wanted to have some blocks on hand for those who missed the message or were not able to make a block but still want to send a message.  I will collect the blocks at the meeting next week and make her the quilt.  I’ll also include some spare blocks (and a pen for signing) for those who do not quilt but want to sign or write something on the quilt for her.

In the 1st picture I am trying out a new tool that I had heard about.  It is not a sewing tool per se, but it a laser line tool that you are supposed to be attached to your tools (like a circular saw, but a sewing machine is classified as a tool also), so that you can stitch a line on a diagonal without having to put markings on the fabric itself.  Not totally sold on it yet.  I do have it just taped to my machine (I have bought some command strips to attach it to my machine-and be able to use it on different machines with ease).  I don’t think I have it lined up exactly and so my stitching was a little off.  Didn’t want to fuss with it so attached my Sew Easy guide to my foot (need to get new double tick tape for it) as this is my tried and true way of doing these diagonal seams.

So as for the rest of the night, these are the projects that I am working on currently (well a few of the projects-who knows I may go to my room and pick out something different to work on).  I am so not a work on 1 project until I have it finished type of girl.  Are you?

Ok, what are you doing during International Sewing month?  Send me pics, I love seeing everyone’s work.

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Customer quilts

So happy to be able to share these 2 quilts with you.  Quilted them for a friend in a quilt guild. The first is a storm at sea in black and gold fabrics.

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I used my straight ruler and added 2 sets of lines to highlight what looks to be curved lines.  But really all the lines are straight.  I then used my curved ruler to add arcs in the squares.

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I used a gold thread in the pieced center and a black in the border.  I did feathers in the border.

And this is the back.

The next one was part of a group challenge.  Each lady contributed a green fabric and the only rule was to use a piece of each fabric in the quilt.  She called it her Irish Snowball and gave me freedom to quilt it however I wanted.  This was a tough one.  I kind of liked the back better than the front.

I used my plexiglass and dry erase markers to see how it would look if I quilted from the back.  I think it would have come out good, but was unsure of how the client would like it so I scrapped that idea.  My other idea was to do overall free-motion feathers and swirls and whatnot. But after quilting the one above it came to me.  What make snowballs?  Snowflakes of course. I toyed with the idea of quilting it in green but it just didn’t seem right to have green snowflakes, so I stuck with white.

So glad the client liked both of the quilts.  I loved being able to quilt them and make them special.  If you have a quilt that you would like to have some special quilting on contact me for a quote. I love having new clients and look forward to quilting such nicely pieced projects.

 

 

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Clear ruler feet for Domestic Sewing Machines!

Yay, they are finally ready and I ordered some and have them in stock, just a few so if you want one make sure to let me know soon.  If they go well I will order more.  What am I talking about?  Accents in Design had produced clear polycarbonate ruler feet for domestic sewing machines.  These are just like the round ruler feet on the long arm machines to use with ruler for free motion quilting, except these are clear so they increase your visibility greatly.  Here is a video on my unboxing.

Sorry for the quality of my videos, I will try to see what I can do about making them better. Or you may not actually have a problem with them, it may be just me and my ancient machine (I am so close to throwing this one out the window and getting a iPad pro that my husband says I can buy) that they don’t work so well on.

Here are some pictures of the feet and what is included to help you install them on your machine.

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This is what you get with the Low, Medium and High shank Clarity foot.  Carol Olsen has done extensive research and has a list that lists a ton of machines and what foot they will take.  SO even if you don’t know if have a low, medium or high shank machine, Carol will undoubtably know and be able to help you.  I have the list so you can also contact me and I can tell you which foot you need.  Again if you are in the Long Beach, CA area I will let you bring your machine over and you can demo the foot and see if it fits and you do want it, a try before you buy sort of deal as I don’t know if any of the local stores are or will be carrying them.

Here is a video of using my ruler with my regular free motion foot on my Pfaff Quilt Expression 4.0.  This is a medium shank foot and I had no problem with putting the foot on the machine and quilting with it.  It will definitely replace my regular (well my modified regular) quilting foot on this machine.  Now I just need to get it serviced to fix the annoying tension disk problem.  If anyone has a Quilt Expression 4.0 and has the problem of the disks not always engaging when you turn on the machine please let me know-I need to know I don’t have a lemon, but that it is a common problem with this machine.  Kind of validates it when you are not the only suffering with this problem.  I love the machine for piecing (since I now have my Tiara for quilting), but can use it for classes and demoing to students as it is definitely more portable than the Tiara II.

And here are some videos of me using it on my Necchi EX30, which is a low shank machine.  Clearance is a bit tight with my set screw, but I think I can get one with a smaller head which would help, especially if I were to use a higher loft batting.  But again, since I have my Tiara II for quilting, I may not use this one much, except for teaching and demoing.  This machine is lighter than my Pfaff Expression and has a smaller harp.

I was interrupted, so here is the continuation of that video.

I had a problem with my machine in the end with skipping stitches.  Here is what I think was the problem.

This is why you should always clean your machine after a session or project.  And change your needle often.  After cleaning and changing the needle it worked great, I just didn;t take a video.  Now your machine may or may not have a problem with going in all directions.  There is so much involved in free motion quilting that just putting the pedal to the metal.  Often it is your hands moving too fast or too slow for the speed of the machine or just that your machine does not like a certain direction.  I had this problem on my Pfaff until the dealer watched me and helped to see that it was the coordinating of my hands and feet.  We set my speed on medium and viola, hardly any more problems.

And my final video for this post is just me using my ruler foot and various Fine Line Rulers.

Again, I apologize for the wonky videos and the placement of the camera and my arms getting in the way.  I will get this figured out.  If you want to see the rulers in person and can come to the Long Beach, CA area (North Long Beach to be more exact), just contact me through leaving a comment on here or on my facebook page (Sandy Carreon Quilting) and we will arrange that.  I’d like to help you with your free motion journey.  If you have been free motion quilting for a while, maybe it is time to try ruler work.

 

Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement or endorsement, nor do I guarantee the foot will work with all machines or will not harm you machine.  If the the foot is not properly installed or the presser foot is not down the ruler may slip under and cause damage to the foot and/or machine.  Use at your own risk and follow all safety precautions.  If you have any questions please contact Accents in Design about their feet and rulers.  I have not used this product for a long period of time so do not know how it will perform in the long run, but I am optimistic and excited that there is another option for those who wish to do ruler work on their domestic machine and that this product provides more clarity (I only wish they were able to make it for the Babylock Tiara.)

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Vintage dresser scarf, Girl at the well, finished.

I bought this piece about a year ago at Piecemakers in Costa Mesa, CA.

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And it has been hanging up with this inspiration picture until this week, when I decided to take the plunge and quilt it.  It had a couple of holes so I knew I wanted to do pebbles in those areas to hide the holes.

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I backed it with white muslin and used 2 layers of 100% cotton batting.I spray basted these layers together. Then I stitched around the linen so I could start the design in the middle.I used Superior Threads Magnifico thread #2003 on my Tiara II.

 

I started with the center diamond, just using 5 dots as reference points to use my curved Fine Line rulers from Accents in Design.  I then used the ruler to create the frame and then the crosshatching.  Then I did free motion feathers on the outside.

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Since I wanted to hide the holes with pebbles I moved to that area. Pebbles are not my favorite, but thought they would be best in these areas.

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I wanted to do more feathers but wasn’t sure where so I started outlining the embroidery pictures.  Then I did clamshells under the grass.  Although I wanted to do feathers wind seemed like the stitch to add to the scene.  And of course a couple of clouds.  Then added the feathers around the blue embroidery.

For the outer edge I started with the diagonal cross hatching.

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But since the center had such dense quilting, the outer edge was more ruffly so I did an orange peel to even it out and put more stitching in the outside.  I started out doing each side of the line, bump bumping my way then back down the other side.   So I was doing alot of starts and stops.  It got a little tiring on the long lines.  So I tried the serpentine way, weaving back and forth over the line and then going back doing it the opposite sides.  And it was so much easier and faster.

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And here is is quilted, bound and blocked.

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Not perfect, and not how I envisioned it turning out, but I love it and can’t wait to do my next one.

 

 

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Free-Motion Suspension System

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I’m am enjoying being able to help others with their quilting.  Now that I am full-time working on my business I am planning on adding more posts and videos weekly to help you.  Today I was working on a special quilt that was put together for a friend who is ill and they wanted to cheer her up and give her some comfort during this tough time in her life.  I am really liking my Babylock Tiara 2 sit down long arm machine.  I know not everyone is able to have one and even though my video shows it with this machine, this system can by used with your domestic machine as well.  Leah Day has been an inspiration for me on my free-motion quilting journey, and I highly recommend her to help you also.  Her husband put hooks on her ceiling so that she can suspend her quilts while she quilts them.  Why do you want/need a suspension system.  Quilting a large (or even lap size) using a domestic or sit down long arm machine can be very strenuous as you shift and puddle the quilt as you quilt it.  That can make you tired and sore and not able to quilt as long as you would like to.  By suspending the quilt, you lift it off the table thereby floating it and reducing drag.  Take a look at my video to see how they work.  You may end up moving them quite a bit as you quilt, but it is much easier to clamp and unclamp the quilt than it is to shift and puddle it around the table in order to keep it from falling off the edge.

Again the suspension system I am using consists of 2 Dog Grooming arms, which can be purchased from Amazon or pet supply sites.  They come in all sorts of colors.  They have clamps that go onto your table (I used some furniture pads on mine so that it won’t damage my table.  I also needed to purchase some clamps as they did not come with the arms (dog groomers attach these to the dog collars or leashes so they do not use the clamps), but these are also readily found on Amazon or other sites.  Hope you enjoyed the video and found it useful.  If you have any questions about it or anything else please feel free to comment or contact me.

 

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