Monday, August 18, 2014

Paper Piecing Without The Paper

I wanted to make this little star...

...the finished size being 4 inches.

To avoid frustration and to get the most accuracy with those spiky points, I figured paper piecing would be the way to go. Despite the fact that I dislike paper piecing - never really got the hang of it. But I was highly motivated, so I proceeded to try to figure it out. 

I would have to make my own paper pieces, which I tried one and it worked OK, but ripping off the paper distorted the fabric too much, and practically ripped the seams right out.

So I thought of a way to do it without the paper.

I decided, why not mark the lines directly on the fabric. First I spray starched the background fabric.

This takes about two seconds, with a hot iron.

I cut my background pieces 2 x 1 3/4" then figured out where the lines had to go.

I want the spikes to intersect 1/4" from the bottom, in the middle, so measured the 1/4" and put a dot where I want the intersection.

Can you see the dot?

Next I drew a line from each corner, through the intersection (dot) to the other side (bottom).

I cut the spike portions 1 3/4 x 3" then cut on the diagonal as shown.

(Pretend this is the green fabric, OK?)

Remember you have to do mirrors of these.

Here are all the parts, ready to go.

The placement and stitching is the same as you'd do for paper piecing.
I cut my spike pieces plenty big to cover.

Sew on the line, flip, press, and trim.

For some reason my "turn over and trim" pix refused to upload. Sorry.
Here it is trimmed, anyway. 

Repeat on the other side. Sorry some of my pictures did not cooperate, but I think you get the idea.

The corners were cut 1 3/4" square, and the center was cut 2 1/2" square for this block.

You can adapt this method to your own block in a different size. Draft it out first on graph paper, and add your seam allowances. 

note:  I mainly make these tutorials for myself. Once I figure something out, I like to make a record of how I did it so I don't have to figure it out all over again the next time! And what better place to store them, but on my blog. 

I hope sharing might benefit others as well.

ps please let me know if something is wrong, or makes no sense!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Help! Fabric ID Please?

Anyone recognize this fabric?

I think it would work well to bind this: 

Unfortunately I only have a fat quarter, with no selvedge info.
I bought it fairly recently, so I believe its current.

Can't show you the whole quilt yet... its a secret! 



Monday, August 4, 2014

New Sewing Machine

The other thing that happened during our museum trip a couple weekends ago is, I bought a new sewing machine!

This is the Janome Horizon 8200, and I got a screamin' deal on it at The Sewing Machine Shop in Walnut Creek, which was on our way to Sacramento.  

The main things that sold me on this particular machine were the heavy duty motor, variable speed control, and the 11" throat. I quilt all my own quilts, many of them bed size, and all this room is like heaven to me!

 Look at this, I barely had to roll my quilt! 

Other great features are a drop-in bobbin, which you can see when its running low,  excellent lighting, automatic thread cutter, a needle threader that actually works and is easy. Another really cool thing is the stitch-in-the-ditch attachment for the walking foot, which makes that particular chore a breeze, and so much more accurate. Of course it has the knee-lift, and tons of really cool stitches.

I can't say enough about The Sewing Machine Shop. Compared to the other (closer) places I considered, their staff is the most knowledgeable, helpful and honest - and patient. They do not pressure you to buy, or try to up-sell you. They have the most models on the floor to try out, and they know their machines well. Their prices are very competitive. They offer an array of classes, and drop-in workshops. They service their machines in house. If this wasn't enough, they offered me a very generous trade-in on my Bernina 150, which was barely limping along with a bent needle bar (a whole 'nother story ~).

The two other machines I tried out were  the MC6300, which I still think is a really decent machine at a great price.

It has great basic features including a heavy duty motor, a decent array of stitches, speed control, and a nine-inch throat. Its packaged up with lots of extra goodies which makes it an even sweeter deal. You can look it up on Amazon for more particulars and reviews.

The next step up is the  MC6600

which features the Acu-feed system, which is like a built-in walking foot. Which I never did really figure out the point of. I think its more for regular sewing, like on slippery fabrics, rather than for quilting.

Anyway, for "a few dollars more" I got the one with the eleven inch throat, which makes me the happiest gal on earth at the moment!

Maybe I'll get some sewing done before the summer ends!