Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Invisible machine applique(not raw edge)

As most of you may remember I've an aunt that is new to quilting.  Unfortunately she doesn't live close, so we can only talk about quilting via the phone or email.  So far she's only pieced quilts but has expressed an interest in machine applique.  Today's post is a short tutorial with some helpful links about machine applique.  
The first thing is making the pieces.  I learned to make applique from Erin Russek's blog One Piece at a Time.  Here's a link to her applique lessons, and in my humble opinion they're the best applique tutorials on the internet.  
Erin is known for her amazing free BOM's, this years freebie is so cute!  You can find it here.  Of course I didn't come up with this method of machine applique all on my own.  Here's a link to where I learned some helpful tips on making the best invisible machine applique.
Okay after you get all your pieces made you need to stitch them down as quickly as possible before you loose your quilty mojo.  Here's what you'll need.


Let's go over these items. 
1.  Superior Mono Poly thread.  Great stuff!  It won't melt or discolor and it's invisible.  It comes in two different shades, smoke and clear.  I prefer clear because it blends best with my color palette.  You could use a matching thread if you wish but for me this works best because I don't need to change my thread several times for one project.  And should I make a mistake in stitching it's less likely to show because it's invisible.
2.  A thread net.  This may not be needed with your machine but for mine it a must because my thread holder lays on it side(picture below)  With out it the thread gets tangled coming off the spool.  You can get them at Joann's or online shops.  But mine were free from the local florist. Yep FREE!  A lot of the flowers are shipped with thread nets around them.  Just ask your local florist if she'll save a few for you the next time you order fresh flowers.
3.  70/10 needle.  This is my go to needle and works best for me in almost all of my quilting.  I even piece with it.  When doing invisible applique it makes a tiny hole, that's all you need for this very fine hairlike thread.
4.  A pair of reading glasses, so you can see the tiny stitches as you make them.  Now not everyone is going to need these.  But my ole eyes need a little extra help.  My reading glasses aren't strong enough so I borrow Mr. Podunks when doing small machine stitches.

Below is my machine.  You can see the thread spool and net.  Before appliqueing your block make a test piece for testing your stitch tension and width.  Every machine is different, what you're looking for is the smallest stitch possible without making big puckers.   I'm using a tiny blanket stitch that I programmed into my machine.   For some reason Brother thinks quilters don't need a stitch this tiny.  Thank goodness I had the option to design my own. Several different stitch styles will work for this type of applique. A blind hem stitch or a zigzag are good options.  


This project was started before my dad had surgery.  So I started hand appliqueing while in waiting rooms.  Well the waiting is over and I want it done.  Part of this is hand and part machine, see the difference?  It's minimal.


Here's a shot of the backside.  Amazing just how invisible it really is!


Okay let's take a look at the stitch in action.  Pull your bottom thread to the top. If you don't know how to do this here's a tutorial.  Don't cut your thread tails just yet, we'll need them later.   Remember to do a tack stitch after you pull the bobbin thread to the top.  If you machine doesn't have a tack stitch do two or three back stitches to properly anchor your thread.   You'll want to start with your needle as close to the applique piece as possible.


Just how wide is the stitch?  About one or two threads into the applique, 3 or 4 at the most.  You can do this, I promise, just take it slow until you get the feel for the tiny stitch.  If your machine has a speed control this is a good time to try it out.  If you look a the picture of my machine above you'll see a slider button right next to the scissors button.  It's set to a fairly slow stitch.


This is why I leave my thread tails, so I can see where I started!  They'll be clipped ass soon as this piece is done. 


 The completed circle.  Can you see the stitches?  Sure, but you're super close.  If any one is this close to your quilt they better be carrying a basket of ribbons and a big ole grand prize check.


Let's back up a little.


And a little more.... there's really no more distortion to the fabric than there is with hand applique.


It's so much quicker and the results are pretty darn close to handwork.  


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Monday, June 29, 2015

Monsoon Monday

Hi diddly-o!  Quilty friends!  Another rainy Monday morning is allowing  me to sew till my hearts content...YEEHAW!  After wading though my fabric stash I've realized there's nothing in there.  Well nothing usable for the current project.  Wah..wah...wah...feeling  like such a cry baby this morning.  So what the heck, just do what comes natural and use what I have even though it doesn't tickle my fancy.   This piece of vintage pink pieced with another print will be my backing for the Boonie Blooms.


And when I say pieced I mean they'll be cut into squares making a large checkerboard.   This quilt will be quilted on the frame so the backing needs to be almost perfectly square.   Squaring up backings is an area I lack proper skills.  Normally I cut, and re-cut, then cut a few more times until the backing is to small for the quilt.  Since I'm better at piecing and cutting smaller pieces of fabric, it seems like the less frustrating way to go.   It'll also lend more time to think about how to quilt this girl.  If the epiphany doesn't happen soon she'll be added to the drawer of  "quilting quandary".


So here's what Podunk looks like this morning...WET!  


My ole watering can isn't getting much love this year.  So far it's working out for the best, I've been so busy trying to keep up on everything that watering the garden would be just one more chore added to the to-do list.   


Well I better run and use my sewing time wisely before the sun pops out.


~ Lea Anne ~
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Clearance Sale at 44th Street Fabric

Just popping in for a quick shout out to Beverly at 44th Street Fabrics.  Bev's a creative and fun blogger that also has an Ebay fabric store.  

  

She's also a lover of bright happy fabrics.   Her blog  44th Street Fabric is always an inspiration of color.  Just look at these adorable Farm Girl blocks she's working on right now.  You can see and read more about them HERE.


 So when an idea for quilt popped into my quilty mind I knew where I needed to go for the fabrics.  Bev!  I've purchased from her before and know I'll get good fabric at great prices.

My stash is lacking in the color needed to make the quilt....Orange!   I've been super busy this month dealing with dads surgery with no real time for online shopping.  Bev's Ebay store  is always packed full of brights.  Without even looking at her store I sent an email asking her if I could get an orange bundle...   Look at this lovely bundle.


I trust Bev but she still sent pictures of the bundle for my approval.


What an adorable bundle.  Remember I told you I never looked in her store before emailing her?  When I finally had a chance to poke around her store, there was no orange bundles for sale, did I get the last one?   Nope, she put together a custom bundle just for me.  YES!   So if you need a bundle don't be afraid to ask Bev, she's more than happy to cut  up a custom bundle just for you!  And I promise you'll love her prices and quick customer service. 


She's also having a clearance sale on books and patterns.  Here's a couple that caught my eye, but there's much more to choose from here on her blog.




So what's going to happen with my little bundle?  Here's a little peek at my plan.  


~ Lea Anne ~



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Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Flimsy~ Boonie Blooms

This little quilt top was finished Wednesday night.  I thought for sure I'd have some decent lighting for pictures by today.  Well there was plenty of good lighting I just wasn't home to take advantage of it.  So we'll just make the best of the situation.  The first two groups of photos will be before and afters.  The pictures will show that I'm a better quilter than photographer .


This is a quick and easy quilt.  I've no doubt that the top could be made in a day.  It has minimal applique that's super fast to do.  A great quilt for a first time appliquer.  Doing raw edge applique made it easy but it could also be made with traditional applique methods.


The Moda Charm pack, 30's Playtime by Chloe's Closet had just the right mix of colors.


The Butter yardage by Robert Kaufman added background color without being to bold, and the Kona White inner border was perfect for not taking away from the blooms, it reminds me of a white picket fence.  Of course you don't need a charm pack to make a charm pack pattern.  Scraps work great too.  Or it could be made more traditionally with all the blocks in the same prints.


There's a real challenge when making a quilt from precuts.  A lot more planning  to make sure you'll have enough fabric.  So when this one ended up having just a smidgen of scrap a little happy dance took place!  


The free pattern will be posted in a couple of days,  if you want one.  So who's up for another freebie? 


Hopefully while finishing up the pattern, there will be a quilting design epiphany.   Maybe I'll use the Bailey Home Quilter this time.  She's been sitting idle for about 6 months.  Everything has been quilted using the Domestic machine since January, just to keep things simple.  There's an urge to be a little more creative with my quilting again.



~ Lea Anne ~
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