Saturday, February 17, 2018

Who, Me? lol

So this just came across my Facebook feed lol

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Butterfly Kisses

I finally finished Granddaughter's quilt.  The last quilt I finished was for her mom - roughly 29 years ago!  Don't look too closely or you will see lots of imperfections.  Having said that, I am so pleased with how it turned out!

I used the "Essentially Irish" pattern from this Fabric Surprises booklet by Love of Quilting magazine.  I notice that Northcott is one of the sponsors of this booklet and I used Northcott fabrics for this quilt, so it seems it was meant to be. I love these fabrics and I'm pretty sure Granddaughter will as well, especially as she gets into her teenage years.  Hopefully it holds together for her until then.

I thought about embroidering butterflies on it after I had pieced the quilt top.  You would think it would have been easier to do that ahead of time but I think having the top as a sheet helped with the hooping for the embroidery machine.  I quilted diagonal lines over the Irish chain squares, and then decided not to continue through the butterfly squares as I didn't want them to hide.  Then I had to decide how to add some quilting for stability within those squares.  I finally settled on free motion echo quilting.  This was also a first for me and my seam ripper got a really good workout.  I finally decided to ditch the King Tut varigated thread I used for my diagonal lines and instead go for a colour match to the butterfly background to better hide the very beginner free motion quilting.  I think in the end this was a good choice.

 I continued the diagonal lines through the border all the way around, but left the bits between the butterfly squares as long rectangles.  I used 2 1/4" strips for the binding as that's what I had on hand already cut.  It worked just fine and I don't really think you need 2 1/2" as is usually recommended.  I spent about 5 1/2 hours sewing the binding down by hand.  I may try stitch in the ditch on a future quilt but I really wanted this to be the best that it could be.  I finished it off with a label. 

I did run into some problems with this quilt.  The heat-activated glue-basting batting wouldn't stay stuck.  I have two quilts using this batting and had the same problem with both.  Apparently the quilt store had a bad roll.  I ended up having to pin baste it all anyway.  Then I was in a bit of a panic when Phoebe the Pfaff was getting all wonky with the tension as I started quilting.  I was working on the class quilt (that still isn't finished) from the class that I took to learn how to finish this quilt.  I sent her to the dealer for service and started working on Bob the Brother instead.  This meant buying a walking foot.  And a 1/4" edge guide.  But Bob was also giving me tension issues - I thought I was going to lose my mind!  Then I realized that Bob wasn't cutting my bobbin thread, and I was using the same bobbin as I did on Phoebe (there are supposed to be interchangeable), so perhaps there is a problem with the bobbin.  I rewound it to a Brother bobbin and then Bob started giving me a beautiful stitch.  So half of the quilt lines on the class quilt are a bit wonky where I was test driving quilting but it was all sorted out before I started quilting on this one.  And now I have two machines that I can use for quilting.  Bonus!  I should mention "Butterfly Kisses" has the Holley stamp of approval.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

A Little Warmth

Some Christmas' are fairly mild where I live and we are able to have our Christmas dinner in the sunroom with a heater on.  This year we have been having a very cold early winter, and are heading into sub-zero temps over the next few days.  What better time to think about some warm sunny colours for a sunroom lap quilt!

I was at Lens Mills last week and picked up the above fabrics.  I initially was thinking of making placemats or mug rugs just to give me something to play with on the old White machine I brought up to J's, but I didn't know how much fabric I would need.  I ended up buying a meter of each and then though "that would make a quilt!".  I've got the blocks made and they are just waiting to be assembled.  I did find that my points are not nearly as accurate as they are with the first quilt I pieced on the Pfaff.  I'm not sure if that is because of the Pfaff's IDT or because the Pfaff has an edge guide 1/4" foot where the White just has a 1/4" quilting foot that you eyeball your edge.  Could be a combination of both. If you click on the pic you will see what I mean.  I haven't decided if I will rework a couple of them or just live with them.  What do you think?  I guess I have to decide how much it will bug me every time I look at it!

While I was at Lens Mills I saw packs of Northcott Stonehenge Gradations 2 1/2" strips on sale half price.  I thought this was a really good deal so I bought four packs.  Once I got out to my truck I saw on my receipt that they qualified for a further 65% boxing week clearance sale!  So of course I went back inside and picked up four more packs for a total of eight in four different colourways (two each).  A few days later I had a project in mind for a queen quilt and figured I would pick up one more pack to ensure I don't run out.  Well I was informed at the checkout that no, they weren't supposed to be discounted the extra 65% and that had been an error.  That's ok, they were still 50% off but I guess I really did get a good bargain.

I start a quilting class next week that I am really looking forward to.  I'm doing ok with the piecing but I am really needing some direction when it comes to quilting and binding the quilt.  I want to finish the class before finishing my granddaughter's quilt; I don't want to mess that one up!  We will be making "Sue's Star" shown here.  It looks like it is all half square triangles so I am looking forward to learning the proper technique for making those.

Friday, December 29, 2017

New Baby and a New Hobby

I guess the new baby and the new hobby aren't quite connected, but seeing how negligent I've been about updating my blog I'm just going to put them both in this post.

The new baby, as you can see in the above pic, is a Babylock Enlighten serger.  I've been happily serging on my Brother 1034D for many years.  The other week I went to adjust the stitch width from rolled hem back to a regular stitch width when something popped loose.  I had the pressure foot down and I think that's why.  I managed to get it working again but decided that since I had a little extra cash in my pocket this fall why not take advantage and buy my dream serger?  So I did!  As an added bonus I brought the Brother serger and my old original White sewing machine up to keep at J's house so that I can play when I am staying up here.

I'll be honest I haven't done much with it yet as I've been totally engrossed in my new hobby - quilting!  I started and finished a quilt top for my lovely granddaughter as she moves from her crib to a bed.  Pics are the purple quilt pics on my previous post.  I had a lot of fun with it; it is an Irish Chain done with strip piecing which made it quick and easy.  I then embroidered butterflies on all the large squares.  I'm going to call it "Butterfly Kisses".

I'm spending the week at J's this week so I went to Lens Mills in Woodstock to see what they had on offer.  They have a large selection of quilting fabrics that I have bought from to make aprons.  I was initially looking for some fabrics to make maybe some placemats or something for the sunroom.  As I was at the cutting desk I realized I didn't know how much of each fabric to buy.  I ended up buying a meter each of six fabrics, and then decided that I could make a lap quilt out of it.  I made my own pattern similar to the Irish chain, in that it is blocks of 25 squares alternated with solid blocks.   I found a 1/4" quilting foot in my stash for the White so I have been happily sewing away while up here on my visit.

While still at Lens Mills, as I was walking towards the checkout I saw a small display of Stonehenge strip packs.  They were marked down half price.  I wouldn't normally spend the full price for these, as nice as they are, but at half price I figured it was a good deal.  So I bought two packs each of two different colourways.  When I got to my truck and looked at my receipt I realized that they qualified for the 65% off clearance items, so I got 65% off the half off price.  Woohoo!  So of course I went back into the store and bought two more packs each of two more colourways.  I'm not sure what I'll do with them yet but they will have a good home in my sewing room until I decide.

So far 2018 is looking to be a very busy year!

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Another Catch-Up Post

Between picket duty and then being back to work I've been crazy busy the last month.  I've carved out some time to work on projects but I haven't had time to post about them.  So I'm just going to plant a bunch of pics here and perhaps I'll get back and write about them at some point.  You'll have to scroll all the way to the end to find a finished project.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lutterloh 282 - 249 Second Pair

When I bought the black and blue checked ponte to make a pair of pants I didn't have the pattern with me, so I bought over two meters because I know that's what I need for a pair of jeans.  Of course I wasn't thinking that denim usually comes 45" wide and the ponte was 60" wide.  Therefore I found I had enough fabric left over to get myself a second pair.  To be fair I considered saving it to make a pair for daughter post-pregnancy but with her long legs there wouldn't be quite enough fabric.  I have another length of ponte, a charcoal plaid, that I may be able to work a pair for each of us out of if I plan for that from the beginning.

Anyway, I made a second pair of Lutterloh 282-249 with a couple of changes.  I am having a hard time seeing the fit on the first pair, because the fabric is dark and the lighting is not very good in my dressing room.  I changed the lightbulbs and saw that I have a fair bit of wrinkling under my butt, and that if I pull up the back of the pants the wrinkles are reduced.  I then slashed and pivoted to reduce the back seam by 1".  This definitely gives me a shaplier fit over the seat; even a slight wedgie.  So I am going to try and fine tune that for future pants.

I took comparison pics with these beige ponte pants I made some time ago.  I'm not sure if I used a Style Arc pattern or New Look 6977 as I played with both patterns then and have a black pair in each, and silly me didn't blog about it to have a record.  Anyway there is more of an angle on the back seam of the New Look pattern compared to the Lutterloh pattern, and I wonder if this is what gives the beige pair a better fit over the seat.  I also moved the pockets towards the centre seam by 1", which I think looks better.  I made no other fitting changes but these ones do seem slightly snugger than the first pair, which could be down to cutting accurate seam allowances (or not) when the pattern pieces don't have that built in.

Aside from shortening them to a 30.5" inseam (I think 31" is going to be my goal for inseams for now on), the other change I made was to use zippers instead of buttons at the cuffs.  I used Heat Bond to stabilize the facings and prevent stretching when sewing the zips on.  I really like the look (thanks for the idea Mom!) and I even got a few compliments when I wore them the other day.  With this 3" wide elastic waistband they are probably the most comfortable pair of pants I own.  I can see myself wearing them a lot and using this as my tried and true knit pants pattern once I sort out the seat fitting.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Lutterloh 282 - 249

I had traced out the back of this pattern earlier this summer when I was comparing the shape and size of three different pants patterns.  I was initially going to use this black and navy checked ponte to make another pair of Simplicity 1696 but in a knit, but I'm still not convinced that that pattern is fitting as well as I would like.  I finally got around to tracing the front of this Lutterloh one as it is drafted for a knit fabric and I could have a go at my first Lutterloh pants pattern.

I wanted to keep it simple so I eliminated the front pockets and I didn't include the fly zip figuring there was enough stretch in the fabric to make them as a pull-on pair.  I did topstitch the fly stitching but I used standard thread instead of topstitching thread, trying to keep it subtle.  It is subtle all right - you can barely see it! lol  I may go over it again with a topstitching thread, we will see.  I did make myself a little cardboard template for fly topstitching.

I did add a set of jean pockets to the back that I copied and reduced by 1/2" in each direction from Vogue 1204.

I ended up having to take the pants in 1" at each side to below the hips, tapering to the knees.  This could be a design change because of the pockets on the original version.  They were possibly intended to be a bit baggier than how I like to wear my pants.  There is no way to tell from the fashion drawing because the top of the pants are hidden by a long blouse.  With my alterations they  are not tight but they do skim my body.  They are definitely not as tight as leggings.

I made a one piece straight waistband as the Lutterloh patterns always call for, although I made my join at the centre back and tapered it in a bit like the yoke on a pair of jeans.  I used 3" wide firm elastic as the waistband facing to eliminate elastic lines and act as a bit of tummy control.  Credit for that idea goes to my Nygard leggings.  I sewed a contrasting thread in a long stitch to mark my 5/8" seam line.  Then I basted the fabric with the edge butted up against that seam line. Finally I sewed the fabric just inside the edge of the elastic with correct thread, stretching a bit as I sewed.

After removing the two white basting threads I flipped the elastic inside and topstitched with the coverstitch which would allow for full stretch.  It will make no difference now if the initial straight seam underneath pops upon stretching.  I think you can see on the edge of the waistband that the ponte is folded under but the elastic is not.  This elastic is too firm to be folded under, as most elastics likely would be.  This gave me a nice clean edge.  I then used the coverstitch to topstitch over the bottom of the waistband.

The elastic gapes a tiny bit at the top because it is stiff and because it is all one piece it is straight up and down over my curves.  Therefore, when I make my next pair I will do the waistband a little differently.  I will use the curved back waistband from Simplicity 1696 for both my front and back.  I will also cut the elastic in two pieces instead of one so that I can shape it at the side seams.  On a second look that is how it is done on the Nygard leggings.
They are quite narrow at the ankle and have four domed buttons.  Initially I was only going to sew the buttons on as a faux opening but I ended up doing it properly with an functional opening and working buttonholes.  I was going for pewter buttons but these are more of a chrome.  They are a bit blingy and I may end up swapping them out for something more subtle.  Also the pants are a bit on the long side.  I added 5/8" for a narrow hem to the length because I just can't believe that a pattern doesn't have to be lengthened.  This probably goes back to when I was a gangly kid and had to have extensions added to the cuffs of all my pants.  I ended up making a 1-1/2" hem to give me a 32" inseam and it could be shortened by at least another inch or two because of the narrow ankle.  I seem to have a phobia about having too-short pants, even when that's what the style dictates!  From what I can see in the fashion pic they end at the top of the back of her shoe.  With heels on mine come to the bottom of the back of my foot (top of the heel).  I *could* shorten them to remove the bottom buttonhole but I will probably live with them as they are.

So my final judgement?  This Lutterloh pattern worked as well for me as any other pants pattern does.  I still don't have the confidence to know what makes a perfect fitting pair of pants, other than I know it when I see it, usually on someone else.  I don't know if something should be tighter or looser or adjusted in some other way, and it doesn't help that I can't see myself walking away in whatever I am fitting.  You can only check out so much looking over your shoulder in a mirror and you certainly can't see how the garment moves.  Maybe I need a videographer to follow me around when I am sewing and fitting! lol

The top is Vogue 8815

I have made a second pair - here is the post for that.