Saturday, January 29, 2011

Batik Beauty- sewing with Batiks

Batiks, some people love them and as the saying goes, "some people hate them". I will admit that my love for them is a tad on the mercurial side but there is never a doubt that if I am going to like a batik it is going to be part of a Hoffman Bali Pop collection.  Those people know how to blend their colors into some of the most yummy color collections of the planet!

This month I am locally  teaching a class on making a a batik quilt as you go table runner than makes the most of the wide variety of colors in each pack. Each Balipop is made up of what at first glance looks to be a wide but cohesive family of colors but as you pull the "pop" apart you can usually group the colors into at least 2 strong color families. In the case of my class I have chosen the colors from the Zinfandel Balipop and broken them into the purple family and the blue family.  Both are wonderful and 1 Balipop is enough to make 4 table runners!

Working with pre cut strips makes for a fast project but does mean that you will not be prewashing your fabric. While I have had little to no problem with my Hoffman batiks running i do make sure to wash my end project with Retayne which is a dye fixative that assures that nothing nasty will be happening with my hardworked treasure!  When selecting a needle for use with batiks I often go with a sharp since as a general rule batiks have a higher thread count making them a bit harder to quilt and down right tedious to hand sew.  For piecing like like a neutral shade of Mettler Metrosene that blends well with my fabric choices ( this is often a shade of gray..but that is just my personal preference)

For quilting I love to bust out my very favorite of all threads for the occasion -Variegated thread rules with batiks!   If I wanting some shine I will always pick Superior thread Rainbows, if I am wanting something a bit more organic but still with a nice pop of color I will choose King Tut.

In the end batiks are nothing to be scared of..  and with the endless new colorways coming to market each season you could spend your life sewing them and never make the exact project twice!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Birth of a Quilt

For me a quilt is really born after it has been washed. Of course art quilts are different but for everything else it's the process of the washing that brings out the texture and the warmth that I want in my quilts. Often i don't even pre-wash my fabric but in this case I did.  The white fabric was 100% linen and it shrunk up like CRAZY but had a wonderful feel to it..  the other fabrics were not pre-washed and this was a calculated risk for sure since they could have bled but  the fabric gods were on my side this time and the quilt came out just perfect.  The photo does not do it justice, I am wishing for a sunny day to take some photos in the morning light!

All the quilting was done in liberated freeneedle style with monofiliment on the top and bottom as to not distract from the clean color play in the quilt.

I am happy with how this turned out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Guess Who got a Tattoo????

 Sir Lancelot plucked up the courage and got his first tattoo today!  He selected a racy pin-up  that keeps his motor running. It is a totally custom job that I designed and  printed on self stick vinyl. It went on smooth as silk making him the hottest looking longarm on the block!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Word Play Quilts

Why yes, that is my quilting bookshelves you hear creaking under the weight of yet another awesome book!  WORD PLAY QUILTS by Tonya Ricucci.

As I think everyone is well aware I am not a traditional quilter. I am of the Gwen Marston Liberated camp and was even before I even knew who Gwen was!  Well Tonya is also of this camp and has taken Gwens great idea and given it a voice!

Tonya takes great pains to show you how to make your first foray into the world of liberated lettering totally successful.   I had already played around with this idea and had overcome some of the trickier bits after multiple  trips to the machine and then sessions with the seam ripper but had not taken it much further but after reading this book  I am re inspired to say the least!

  Word Play helps you get past those tricky bits with quite a bit more ease! Not to mention inspirational project ideas and some great examples of what not to do!
 ( Totally as important in my book as what to do right!)

I already have words dancing in my head.... I can't wait to see what becomes of it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Quilted Thoughts

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken"
Oscar Wilde

"Be true to your own style when you quilt, there you will find true happiness"

Maddie Kertay

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Leader Grips ~vs~ Spotty Math Skills

Honestly I really do know how to use a tape measure so the fact that the backing on SnowCream came out to be an inch short was a bit of a kick in the knickers as I got to the bottom of the quilt and made the rather rude discovery. Lucky for me I  am the happy user of  Leader Grips for loading my quilts so while I will admit to some foul words I did not cry ( I am such a big girl!)

Leader Grips  are an alternative to using pins and cursing at your longarm. With using Leader Grips and floating technique I can have a quilt ready to start stitching in well under 15 minutes. There is another similar product on the market called Red Snappers that work on a similar principle but are a bit more flexible and think they might be a superior product based on watching the video.. and I believe they might be a bit cheaper but in any case I think it is the fastest and most adjustable method currently on the market for loading a quilt  onto a longarm machine.

ohhhh as a note I don't get a kick back or anything fun for letting you know about these two great products... not that I am opposed mind you.. it's just not part of the gig right now.

Anywhoooooo I took the quilt off the frame ( about 30 seconds) then sewed on some extra fabric to the back and then reloaded that baby and finished up the borders.. what would have been very ugly ended up being just a P.I.A, I can live with that.

If we can get even a minute of sun tomorrow I will shoot some pictures!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It Took 8 inches of Snow....

Well it seems that it takes Mother Nature giving my city a cold snowy blanket to get me back in the blogging saddle!  Soon as I post this I will be racking up my newest quilt  SnowCream and working some  Handi Quilter Avante 18 magic on it!

As to not detract from the focus of this quilt I am going to be using mono filament on the bottom and top of this quilt. This can be a challenge for some quilters but I have had quite good luck using my Avante in this manner when I pay careful attention to how I wind the bobbin. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to bobbin filling  and monofilament. Keep the stretch to a minimum and  make sure to use your TOWA gauge to set the tension  and you should be good to go!